Finalists selected for 28th annual Burton Morgan Business Plan Competition

February 11, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Finalists have been selected to make formal presentations during the 28th annual Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, a $100,000 competition at Purdue University next week designed to foster an ecosystem for startups on campus.

Five teams are in the Gold Division, which is open to graduate and undergraduate students and faculty. Another five teams are in the Black Division, which is limited to undergraduates. Each team will present their business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance at prize money and free business, financial and legal consulting services.

The Purdue event, which invites the public to watch the presentations, runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 17) in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121. An awards reception will follow along with a keynote talk by Richard Cosier, dean emeritus and the Leeds Professor of Management at Purdue's Krannert School of Management.

In the Black Division, the five teams presenting in the morning are Food for Thought, Social Profile Evaluator, MSE Ballistics, Tres D Café and Guarders. Finalists for the Gold Division, which will present in the afternoon, are Skyepack, BioMS, Spero Energy, NeuroVigor and AccuPS.

The Gold Division winner will receive $30,000, while Black Division teams are competing for a $20,000 top prize.

"The quality of these student-led businesses is set higher and higher every year, and the 2015 edition of this business-plan competition is no exception," said Joseph Pekny, interim director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "We're excited that these teams are building on a legacy and a culture at Purdue that places a priority on helping students develop viable and sustainable companies that will grow our economy and add value to their college experience."

The competition process started last fall with 85 initial submissions, said Cliff Wojtalewicz, managing director of the Burton D. Morgan Center.  The final five Black and Gold division teams were selected by a panel of judges and made official Feb. 6. Each team has 20 minutes for its presentation and 10 minutes for questions from judges.

In addition to the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, sponsors are the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Krannert School of Management, Ice Miller LLP and Purdue Research Park.

In 2014, Bearing Analytics, a company now called DATTUS that is developing an analytics sensor for predicting bearing failure in machinery, won $30,000 as the top presenter in the Gold Division. ExDie Cleaning Technologies, which is developing a method for removing excess material during the aluminum extrusion process, claimed the $20,000 first prize in the Black Division.

The Purdue entrepreneurship competition started in 1987 with an endowment gift from The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, which also funded the $7 million, 31,000-square-foot Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, through its sponsored initiatives and partnerships - including the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Technology Realization Program, Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy and business plan competitions - aims to stimulate entrepreneurship at Purdue and serves as a state, regional and national resource.

A primary initiative of the Discovery Park center is the Deliberate Innovation for Faculty, or DIFF program, which was launched in fall 2013 to provide mentoring for Purdue innovators who have an interest in translating their inventions to the public through commercialization, collaboration or entrepreneurship.

The building also houses the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub that opened in July 2013 to provide assistance in areas such as product ideation and market analysis as well as business-plan development, alumni and faculty mentoring, and help in finding funding.  

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources: Joe Pekny, 765-426-7186,

Cliff Wojtalewicz, 765-496-3961,

Bambrah Walker, 765-494-1335, 

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