sealPurdue News

April 1997

Entrepreneurial competitions offer 'real-life' experience

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: B-roll of the Burton Morgan competition is available. Contact Grady Jones, Purdue News Service, (765) 494-2079; e-mail,

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Business owners of tomorrow are getting their first crack at entrepreneurship through college competitions.

For instance, a plan to let health-conscious grocery shoppers create custom breakfast cereals won Purdue University's 10th annual Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition.

The winning plan, "YourWay Cereals," earned a first prize of $4,000 for Edward Maurer, a master's student in the Krannert Graduate School of Management from Latrobe, Pa. His plan used a bulk food stand containing cereal flakes, fruit and nuts. Consumers could select their own preferred combination of flakes, fruit and nuts to design their own cereals.

The winning entry was selected by a panel of judges after 25-minute oral presentations from 10 finalists. The contest was open to all Purdue students.

The yearly competition is sponsored by Purdue alumnus Burton D. Morgan, founder of six corporations and president of Basic Service Co., an idea-development company. The competition is designed to develop student appreciation of the free market system and the role of the entrepreneur in a market economy.

Students must develop plans that include everything necessary to start and maintain a small business. Marketing plans and strategies, manufacturing designs and processes, industry analysis, and financial considerations are just a few of the areas judges focus on.

Purdue is not alone in the encouragement and development of tomorrow's entrepreneurs. Arnold C. Cooper, the Louis A. Weil Jr. Professor of Management in the School of Management, says entrepreneurship is a hot topic in today's business schools.

"Enrollment in entrepreneurship courses is burgeoning all over the country," he says. "Several universities have developed centers and designed entire curriculums around the subject."

He says interuniversity competitions also are growing in popularity. Last year's winners of Purdue's Burton Morgan competition, David M. Bean, Danvers, Mass ., and Joseph C. Schroeder, Cincinnati, won a business plan contest sponsored by Indiana University in January and plan to compete against 25 teams in a regional contest at the University of Nebraska this month. The two graduate students developed a medical syringe with safety features that protect health workers from needle sticks and makes the needle good for one use only. In May, Bean and Schroeder will compete in a competition at the University of Texas that involves teams from around the world. The students are currently trying to license their product.

CONTACTS: Tamyra Gibson, public relations, School of Management, (765) 494-4392; Cooper, (765) 494-4401.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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