sealPurdue News

December 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.

Purdue University's annual Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition is one of several contests around the country that allow students to test the validity of original business plans and earn cash awards for their efforts.

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 are growing in popularity and have become a year-round commitment for the students who participate. In recent years, Purdue students have entered entrepreneurial contests at Indiana University, the University of Nebraska and the University of Texas.

The preliminary round for Purdue's 1998 Burton D. Morgan competition was held at the end of November. Of the 20 teams entered, 10 qualified for the final competition in February. But first all 10 teams will have a chance to test their ideas at the Midwestern Business Plan Contest at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis on Jan. 30.

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.

A plan to let health-conscious grocery shoppers create custom breakfast cereals took top honors in the 1997 Burton D. Morgan contest.

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 is 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.

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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