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June 24, 2004

Purdue, Lilly Endowment sponsor three new $50K biz plan competitions

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University and the Lilly Endowment are sponsoring business plan competitions in Fort Wayne, Hammond and West Lafayette to help create and expand the Indiana companies that will provide jobs to stem the state's "brain drain."

2003 competition
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Each of the three Opportunity for Indiana Business Plan Competition venues offers a minimum prize purse of $50,000 – $25,000 for first place, $15,000 for second and $10,000 for third. Local sponsorships may increase the prize amounts and add professional services for the winners.

Don Blewett, associate director of Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, said the competitions are based on the model of other business plan competitions run by the university's Krannert School of Management and Center for Entrepreneurship.

"We've been running the Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition for 17 years and the Life Sciences Business Plan Competition for the last two years," Blewett said. "Now, the Lilly Endowment is enabling us to grow the entrepreneurship culture across the whole state.

"Our message to potential entrants is: Think now about the business or expansion you'd like to propose and get your team together. The first deadline is Aug. 1 and only requires that you register online. The competition sites will be offering workshops in the fundamentals of writing and presenting successful business plans."

Deadlines for the three competitions are:

• Aug. 1 – Teams must register at

• Sept. 4 – Business plan workshops begin.

• Oct. 8 – Business plan executive summary due. Fifteen entrants will be chosen to write full business plans.

• Oct. 15 – Semifinalists notified.

• Oct. 25 – Full business plans due.

• Nov. 8 – A minimum of five finalists chosen for presentations at the three competition locations.

The competitions will take place at the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne campus on Nov. 22, the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette on Nov. 23 and the Visitors' Center at Purdue Calumet on Dec. 1.

At least four workshops on the fundamentals of business will be offered at each of the competition locations beginning Sept. 6. Subjects will include finance, legal issues, marketing and preparing a business plan. Times and locations will be announced at the competition Web site.

Local sponsors for the competitions are Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, the Purdue Research Park, and Purdue University North Central and Purdue University Calumet, which are jointly sponsoring the Purdue Calumet competition. Additional sponsors, such as law and accounting firms, are sought for local sponsorship and to provide in-kind services to winning teams.

Blewett said the competitions are open to Indiana startups and businesses that want to expand. Entrants from outside Indiana can enter if they locate within the state. Participants can enter any one of the three competitions.

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship is the first of six centers in Purdue's Discovery Park. The other centers are the Birck Nanotechnology Center, Bindley Bioscience Center, Discovery Learning Center, e-Enterprise Center and the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The new Biomedical Engineering Building also will be located in Discovery Park.

The Lilly Endowment funds that are sponsoring the competition are part of a $3.5 million, three-year grant, Opportunity for Indiana, which aims to provide more opportunities and good jobs for graduates of the state's colleges, universities, technical schools and high schools.

Richard A. Cosier, director of the Burton D. Morgan Center and Krannert School dean, said, "Through the immense generosity of the Lilly Endowment, Purdue will be able to help Indiana start and retain exciting new businesses that likely will employ highly paid knowledge workers."

Inquiries about the competition should be directed to Blewett at (765) 494-4485, The competition Web site is online.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Sources: Don Blewett, (765) 494-4485,

Richard A. Cosier, (765) 494-4366,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Video b-roll is available by contacting Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Matthew Campbell, chief operating officer of Iris AO, makes the winning presentation at Purdue's inaugural Life Sciences Business Plan Competition in 2003. Regional business plan competitions, sponsored by the Lilly Endowment's $3.5 million Opportunity for Indiana grant, are modeled on competitions such as the life sciences competition run by the Krannert School of Management and the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. (Purdue University file photo/ John Underwood)

A publication-quality photograph is available at

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