Recession! Abandon Your Startup/Plan?

I received a nice email from Brian H. recently with a link to an article in the Coloradoan concerning startups and the recession. The article is generally positive and full of ‘experts’ saying startups can thrive in lean times.

From the piece by Cari Merrill,

“Economic conditions are the important part of entrepreneurial endeavors. As an entrepreneur, you need to be thinking about all sources of capital. I believe human capital is way more important to a startup endeavor than financial capital,” said Paul Hudnut, co-director of CSU’s Global Innovation Center for Energy, Health and Environment and course instructor. Much of the success in a startup company is with people who are motivated to see the project through.

I really agree with the point above. Over the past 3 months I have talked to many people about working on my startup and I find very few with the motivational level necessary –regardless of money/funding etc. Continue reading “Recession! Abandon Your Startup/Plan?”

Calling All Gophers — 50K Minnesota Cup

Big prizes in this contest. The Minnesota Cup — a business plan competition in the land of 10K lakes  has doubled its prizes. Winners gets 50K in cash! From the Pioneer Press:

The Minnesota Cup, a statewide contest that promotes innovative business ideas, has doubled the prize money it will award its top three winners this year.

The top three entrants will receive $50,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively, cup officials said today. The top student entrepreneur will receive $5,000 in prize money.

The contest will accept business idea submissions starting today through May 23 online at www.minnesotacup.org. The Minnesota Cup, which is sponsored by the University of Minnesota, Wells Fargo Bank, the state of Minnesota, the James J. Hill Reference Library and others, has attracted 1,800 contestants since its inception in 2005.

Tarheel Looking Good — SizeMeUp.com

Its not just the hoopsters from Chapel Hill that are finding continued success. SizeMeUp.com and its CEO/Founder Melissa Adelman is on a roll. Here is an NPR interview with Melissa and here is SizeMeUp.com on KillerStartups.com.

They are leading the creation of the ‘comparative sizing’ market — a product/tool that is basically a ‘size converter’ — like a currency converter. This would solve the problem of different sizes from different brands meaning different things. If it works, they will reap XL returns.

LIVE @ MERC #2, FAIRFAX, VA

11:08 AM – Listening to Yang Ling (GMU School of Management) talk about research into the personal values of CEOs and firm performance. This is a really interesting line of inquiry b/c most research on entrepreneurs look at their personalities. As Ling explained, personal values are different from personalities. However, it appears that the variables they used as ‘collectivism’ and novelty as personal values. Not sure how that I fully understand why they chose these values, but I am happy that they started this line of research. Looks like they studied small and medium sized firms — not sure this is entrepreneurship — a typical problem going that brings us back to the root of the problem with entrepreneurship research — who/which firms are entrepreneurs/entrepreneurial.

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.

Spirit of Independence

Small Business Blogger Wendy Bounds of the WSJ has a nice blog post (and book promotion) on a small pub in what I think is upstate NY. Her new blog is meant to uncover the independence and importance of small biz…

This spirit of independence, and the potential money to be made from it, is what this new blog will chronicle. The Internet has transformed the entrepreneurial world, making it possible to execute an idea with unprecedented speed. Realizing that small is the new big, today’s marketers anxiously plug software, banks, cellphone services and Web-hosting programs to small business owners; we’ll help parse through it all. As the news of big business comes, this column will track its impact further down the economic pipeline. And we’ll also point you to great tales of entrepreneurial triumph, and heartache.