Draper Fisher Jurvetson & Cisco to Hold Second Global Business Plan Competition

Cisco and leading venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson have announced their second annual global business plan competition for college and university students. The two firms will award $250,000 to the firm that wins this years DFJ and Cisco Global Business Plan Competition.

This competition makes use of some Cisco technology so participants can interact while building and presenting their firms. From the press release:

Leading global early-stage venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Cisco today announced they will jointly hold the second annual global business plan competition for students aimed at fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. The competition will leverage Cisco TelePresence(TM), which enables collaboration through a live, face-to-face video network communications experience, to allow finalists from around the world to present their business plans in real time to a joint panel of DFJ and Cisco executives based in San Jose.

The competition is designed to elicit new technology-oriented ideas from aspiring college and university student entrepreneurs around the world. Fourteen finalists will be announced on June 22, 2010. The winner, who will be announced on June 29, 2010, will receive a minimum of $250,000 seed money. The winner will also receive professional feedback and mentorship from both DFJ and Cisco.

“I could travel to over a dozen countries, visit hundreds of universities, spend months meeting with thousands of companies, but instead I get to see the best of the best during one single day via the geographic reach of the DFJ Global Network and the magic of Cisco TelePresence(TM),” said Tim Draper, managing director, DFJ. “Last year we held our first global business plan competition, and we were absolutely blown away by the caliber of the teams. These are resilient, nimble, and resourceful young entrepreneurs who follow their passions and make things happen. I have been in the venture industry for 25 years, and it’s entrepreneurs like these that will continue to inspire me for the next 25.”

This is a great opportunity for student entrepreneurs to gain some more knowledge, get some feedback, and continue their journey. Check out the site and check out some of last years finalists and what they are up to now.

Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Cisco to Hold Second Annual Global Business Plan Competition via Cisco TelePresence(TM) – MarketWatch.

Forbes Hypes Business Plan Competitions

Forbes has a nice online feature looking at 15 business plan competitions across the U.S. It looks like the Kauffman Foundation has some great data on these competitions and hopefully that is a database that is available to entrepreneurship researchers.

Last Thursday, during my introductory lecture in New Venture Creation, I discussed the great opportunities that University and College sponsored business plan contests offer to students interested in or determined to be entrepreneurs. From the article:

There’s more money than ever in these competitions. At last official count in 2006 the Kauffman Foundation identified 353 business plan contests at colleges and universities. The number may have doubled since then, says Fishback, based on early feedback gleaned from Kauffman’s recent purchase of a software company that helps facilitate and track these competitions. Continue reading “Forbes Hypes Business Plan Competitions”

Pitch to Under Armour CEO, Win $15K — U Maryland

Calling all University of Maryland student entrepreneurs and recent graduates! Do you own and run your own business? Do you think YOU are one of the best UM entrepreneurs? Tell your story to the whole University and to one of UM’s most successful entrepreneurs, Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour. If you convince Kevin that you are the best, in addition to a great connection to Kevin and other prominent alums, you will take home the Cupid’s Cup, an annual award to the best UM student entrepreneur, and $15K in cash!” —  from UMD.

I am fortunate to live near UMD and visit their great b-school periodically. I recently attended one of their Pitch Dingman contests (a weekly event for students to pitch new ventures; the end of month session awards $2500) and will be posting on the event later this week. They have put a lot of thought and time into building an entrepreneurial eco-system and there is much to gain for campus entrepreneurs in College Park, MD.

Check out the Cupid’s Cup Website to see how an entrepreneurial business school puts it together.

The Ideablob is Growing on Campus!

Its been awhile since we’ve checked into online startup community and contest organizer Ideablob.com. Turns out that campus entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the “idea” space provided by Advanta Corp at Ideablob.com.

Two Penn State students have won awards for their ideas — they were separate entrants in different months. Check out Aaron Fleishman and his developing world health care social venture idea and Matt Allison’s personal training software.

We have also learned about Ideablob Blob live events on campuses such as Belmont U and University of Pennsylvania. These are live action versions of Ideablob where people come up with innovative ideas on site and discuss. Sounds cool.

Russell Simmon’s Race to Be Finalists Announced

From CBS Marketwatch (this is all part of Global Entrepreneurship week):

The film competition, BE. The Story, hosted by Simmons, will kick off the Race and Global Entrepreneurship Week/USA at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles on Nov. 17. Two days later on Nov. 19, the music leg of the race, BE. The Sound, will take place in Austin at Austin Scottish Rite Theatre. Traveling east to New York City on Nov. 21, the Race will culminate in the fashion challenge, BE. The Style at the New York Stock Exchange. Simmons will take part in the final presentations and announce the three winners of the nationwide Race to BE. that evening.
Click link to see finalists.

Pace University Pitch Contest — December 4th

While many entrepreneurs spend weeks (if not months) writing and editing their business plans, at the end of the day, more often than not the entrepreneur will have just a few minutes to present their idea to pacepitchpotential funders, partners, or customers. This is your pitch (often called elevator pitch).

Pace University in NY is holding its fifth annual Pace University Pitch Contest on December 4th. The deadline to enter is Nov. 21. Interestingly, there are two divisions — The New Business Concept category and the Social Venture Category. Check out the contest’s site.

The event is being presented in association with the Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the MIT Enterprise Forum of NY. It will take place in the 750 seat Schimmel Center on Pace’s campus in downtown Manhattan.

From our friend’s at Pace:

The basic format is that ten contestants, five in the New Business Concept category and five in the Social Venture category, will each have three minutes to make his/her pitch and may use up to 5 PowerPoint®slides. The format of the event is as follows:

5:00 – 5:30 Registration, Reception and Book Signing

5:30 – 6:00 Introductions and Keynote Speaker

6:00 – 6:45 Ten Finalists make their Pitch (5 commercial and 5 social)

6:45 – 7:00 Break (Judges select the winning pitches in private)

7:00– 7:30 Judging Panel Discussion and Critique

7:30 – 7:45 Awards Ceremony

BTW, the Keynote speaker Gurbaksh Chahal, a very successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur who is now an author and might become a TV star. I will post more on G (as he is known) next week.

Chicago Bplan Winner, Finalists Down Under

Some interesting business plan competition stories I came across.

Out of Chicago, a small, city led competition brings out some interesting businesses and very different from what we see at the high-profile competitions at major research universities. From the Chicago Sun-Times

The city Friday announced Alter EatGo (AlterEatGo .com), a health-conscious meal delivery service catering to African Americans, the winner in the 2008 City Treasurer’s Business Plan Competition. The business took first place and $5,000.

Chicagoan Eric Meredith said he started the business to make healthy food available and affordable to blacks and other racial minorities.

“There’s a huge problem with health,” he said, noting the demographic’s disproportionate rate of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Meredith, who cooks out of Kennedy-King College’s commercial kitchen, delivers to 25 to 30 customers each week…

The Illinois Science Council (IllinoisScience.org), a nonprofit group that produces events that have scientists and engineers mingling with curious adults, won third place and $1,500.

Some interesting businesses were announced as finalists in the University of Queensland’s Business School’s Enterprize Competition. From the piece out of the UQ,

“UQ Business School awards the $100,000 prize with no strings attached. The funds are awarded solely for the purpose of commercialising the winning idea.”

Professor Brailsford said all the Enterprize finalists would also receive an entrepreneur’s pack from i.lab, the Queensland Government’s technology incubator and long-time sponsor of Enterprize.

“I congratulate the 2008 finalists: Bilexys, Ceramipore, DendriMed, LAADtech, Mack Pull, ProGel, and Zebras,” he said.

I just find the contrast between the size of the competitions, their backers/university hosts, the prizes, and the concepts interesting. Just look at the names of the UQ finalists.

Vandy Exec MBA’s Win Jungle BPlan Contest

I think this is the first time I have seen a team of Executive MBA Students win a business plan competition. According to a report on VUCast (Vanderbilt’s University Network), a team of executive MBA students from the Owen Graduate School of Management, won the Jungle Business Plan Challenge.

Check out the members of this team (remember this is an exec MBA program, meaning these people are usually older than typical MBA candidates and likely earning the degree to improve performance at their current job):

The team developed a proposal for a start-up company, Organ Transplant Technology, to market a new method for preserving and transporting donor organs. The company would combine a newly developed perfusion solution for preserving transplanted organs with a transportable compressed-air driven perfusion system to replace the currently used method of transporting organs on ice in coolers.

Members of the winning team, all of whom graduate May 9 from Vanderbilt’s Executive MBA program, are Dr. Ravi Chari, professor of surgery and cancer biology and chief of the division of hepatobiliary surgery and liver transplantation at Vanderbilt; Ted Klee, vice president of Square D/Schneider Electric Company; Andrew Bordas, director, warehouse management systems, Ingram Book; and Fernando Sanchez, chief financial officer of Gibson Guitar. Clayton Knox, a Vanderbilt medical student, also assisted the team with the project.

A doctor (cancer surgeon/dept. head at Vandy) and the freakin’ CFO of Gibson Guitar? Thats krazy. That being said, as I think about this competition and the winner, I wonder, should people enter business plan competition is they have no intention of launching the idea/firm that they enter into the competition.

I don’t know if the team above is going to move forward with their organ transplant firm, but given their full time jobs (exec MBAs are on campus even less than part-times) I can only assume they are sticking with their day jobs.

Was it a mistake for the judges to give them top prize? Is this unfair to those who entered the competition and wanted to actually launch their firms?

I think the act of participating in the competition and exploring and sharing an idea and approach is valuable for both the participants, judges, and audience. If people are annoyed that some winners/entrants have no intention of launching their entries, then those annoyed people have to beat them in the competitions.

The Continuing Evolution of BPlan Competitions

Just read an interesting story by Kimberly Cornuelle covering BU’s Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (ITEC) competition. In this competition, there will be real time voting for finalists by audience members. While it doesn’t appear that these votes are not counted in a specific way, according to the article, the judges will take audience votes into account.

While the decision of the judges — a panel of venture capitalists and business leaders — will not be based solely on the number of votes, Goldstein says votes in favor of a particular team can only help. “The judges will definitely take the votes into consideration,” she says. “They will be looking at the actual plan proposed, how the finalists articulated their goals, plus the audience votes.”

This is an twist in determining the winners of a competition that I had not seen before. The business plan competiton has come a long way from its birth at the University of Texas. And it is good to see that different competitions are trying different techniques to expand the reach of business plan competitions.

As discussed previously, we have seen social venture competitions, corporate sponsored competitions, media led efforts, economic development competitions (ie Gov’s Contest in Wisconsin), market based competitions (ie the Boomer Contest), and online contests (ie Vator.tv, StartupNation). This latest innovation is cool because it brings the audience into the contests and presumbly asks them to consider the viability and growth potential of the firms presenting. Ideally this helps spread ‘the gospel’ and ‘ideals’ of entrepreneurship.

From the article,

The final projects are AutoNAIS, which proposes a new product that helps biologists save time and effort with sample preparation; RemesaTel, which hopes to provide inexpensive access to credit and trading opportunities through mobile text messaging in Mexico; Nakama Media, which will sell its online multimedia language learning tool MediaLesson in Japan and Korea, and Essense Medical, which develops disposable medical tools, initially focused on colorectal cancer, to diagnose and treat cancer in real time. Continue reading “The Continuing Evolution of BPlan Competitions”

Michigan Offers $30MIL BPlan Contest

A few years ago when I wrote my first paper on bplan contests, most folks thought I was nuts. But I knew something was going on. I was aware that contests and prizes were growing. I observed that groups outside of the business school and the university were holding contests. I began to see stories of policy makers putting the contest into place.

According to a story at Rapid Growth (out of Grand Rapids I believe), the State of Michigan is putting up $30 million for winners of business plan competitions. Now that is a lot of cheddar. I am trying to find verification on this story from the state or other sources and will post an update later. From the story by Deborah Johnson Wood:

Some $30 million is soon to be up for grabs in the second statewide business plan competition sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The funds will be awarded as grants and loans for winners of the competition.

The contest seeks to spur commercial development and job growth in four competitive-edge technology sectors: life sciences, advanced automotive manufacturing, alternative energy, and homeland security and defense.