Purdue News

August 24, 2005

Purdue entrepreneurs sought for $100,000 business plan contest

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University students and faculty have the opportunity to learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur and compete for $100,000 in total prize money on Feb. 16 in the 19th annual Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition.

Those who have an idea or a technology for a business or an interest in running their own enterprise should come to the informational call-out sessions at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday (Aug. 31 and Sept. 1) in the Krannert Auditorium or register for the competition online by Sept. 12. Registration information and the complete competition calendar are available online.

Finalists will compete in two divisions – open and undergraduate. The open division teams can include faculty, staff, graduate students and outsiders, such as alumni or area business people (outside participants can make up a maximum of 20 percent of the team). Undergraduate teams are made up wholly of Purdue undergraduates, although these teams may have a faculty adviser. In both divisions, students must make the Feb. 16 presentations.

The 10 finalists will give 10-minute business plan presentations and then field 10 minutes of questions from a panel of professors and venture capitalist judges.

Prizes in the open division are $30,000 for first place, $15,000 for second place, $10,000 for third place, $5,000 for fourth place and $2,000 for fifth place. In the undergraduate division, prizes are $15,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place, $8,000 for third place, $3,000 for fourth place and $2,000 for fifth place.

In addition to the cash prizes, Ice Miller, the Indianapolis-based legal and business advising firm, is providing legal and business services for the top three finishers in the open division worth $5,000 for first, $3,000 for second and $2,000 for third. The Purdue Research Park is providing free office space for one year to the open division winner.

Don Blewett, associate director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, said entrepreneurship is not mysterious, unique or brand-new.

"You can get most ideas to fly," he said. "It's just a question of how high. It's lemonade stands and the thought processes you go through in a startup.

"You can define entrepreneurism as the aggressive and creative application of standard business principles and making decisions quickly for the right reasons. It's saying what you're going to do and doing what you say. We can provide the tools to make your idea fly."

This fall the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship will offer six workshops to prepare teams to write business plans to qualify for the competition finals. Blewett said the three-hour workshops will cover all the functional areas of an MBA – finance, marketing, human resources, accounting, operations and management communication – and how all the areas interact. The first workshop takes place on Sept. 28.

"Win, lose or draw, this is solid, basic business education that will make you more employable," Blewett said. "And having won real dollars in a business plan competition is a resume item that will separate you from other graduating job seekers because established companies seek entrepreneurial employees.

"Longer term, the competition will prepare its entrants to enter the entrepreneurial arena at any point in their future careers."

For further information, call Blewett at (765) 494-4485, blewett@purdue.edu.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077, mlillich@purdue.edu

Source: Don Blewett, (765) 494-4485, blewett@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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