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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Students to showcase business models

Mamta Popat
photos by: Mamta Popat photography

The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship will hold its annual New Venture Competition and Showcase this Friday at the Eller College of Management in McClelland Hall.

The competition, which is free and open to the public, is a chance for 21 teams of students to share the business plans they have been working on all year with the public and a team of judges for a chance to win monetary prizes, according to Patricia Sias, director of the McGuire Program.

The competition and showcase will begin at 9 a.m. Friday with a trade show, where each of the teams will have a booth set up. Guests can walk around and look at each team’s product and ask the team members questions.

The first round of pitches will begin at 10 a.m., according to Sias. Each team will give a three-minute pitch for the judges followed by two minutes of Q-and-A. After a break to allow the judges to deliberate, the judges will invite six teams back to do a one-minute reminder pitch followed by 10 minutes of Q-and-A.

Julie Forster, the McGuire Program Coordinator, said the goal is to allow students to present their ideas in as many different ways as possible.

There are five prizes for which the teams are competing. First prize is $10,000, second prize is $5,000 and third prize is $2,500, all of which will be awarded by the judges.

There will also be a People’s Choice Award worth $1,000, which will be decided by a Twitter photo contest. Each team will have a Twitter hashtag displayed with its project at the trade show, so guests can photograph their favorite team and upload it to Twitter with the corresponding hashtag to vote for that team.

The Best in Class Award will also be for $1,000. For this award, the teams will vote for each other.

The students are not required to use the prize money to launch their businesses, although about 30 percent of students do each year, Sias said.

“There’s no strings tied at all,” Sias said. “We produce entrepreneurs, not businesses.”

Sias, who will be the master of ceremonies for the event, said she is most looking forward to seeing each team perform.

“At the end of the year, this is our big showcase of what they’ve accomplished … and their really well-developed venture or investment-ready businesses,” Sias said.

Forster said her favorite part is the trade show, although she recognizes the importance of the pitches.

“[The pitches] focus the students academically on what sort of information that they need to communicate to the judges and all the work they’ve done all year really comes through in their business plans,” Forster said. “But I really like the trade show because it gives you a chance to ask a lot of questions and to see in front of you tangible evidence of what teams have done all year long.”

Andrew Duy, a second-year MBA student in the Eller College of Management, said he has been working on a fast, affordable and customized market research program called uVenturous for the past year along with three other students. He said he is excited to see everybody’s ventures together as the end result of a year’s worth of work.

“It’s a little nerve-racking putting your ideas out there in front of everybody, but it’s something we’ve kind of gotten used to over the course of this program,” Duy said. “It’s a lot of hard work going into it.”

—Follow news reporter Jordan Fowler on Twitter @JordanFowler7

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