Purdue News

November 16, 2006

Businesses vie for $150,000 at Purdue entrepreneurship competition

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship will hold its third annual Opportunity for Indiana Business Plan Competition, in which companies will vie for $150,000 in prizes at three separate sites around the state Nov. 28 through Dec. 1.

Finalists are competing in one of the three regions:

• Lafayette-West Lafayette. Presentations begin at 1 p.m. Nov. 28 in the Purdue Technology Center, 3000 Kent Ave., in the Purdue Research Park. Winners will be announced at 4:30 p.m., followed by a reception.

• Northwest Indiana. Presentations begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 29 at the Calumet Conference Center at Purdue University Calumet. Awards will be announced at 3:30 p.m.

• Northeast Indiana. Presentations begin at 9 a.m. Dec. 1 in Kettler Hall, Room 243, at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Winners will be announced at 1:15 p.m.

Don Blewett
"Business startups need a business plan," said Don Blewett, associate director of the Burton Morgan Center. "Through these competitions, Purdue is helping entrepreneurs understand the realities of why a strong business plan is necessary if a young business is to succeed."

Sponsored each year by Discovery Park's Burton Morgan Center and Lilly Endowment, the competition aims to help entrepreneurs and small-business owners create jobs for Indiana high school and college graduates. Prize money totals $50,000 at each of three regional sites.

Teams submitted an executive summary of their business idea on Sept. 25. From each region, 15 teams were selected to continue into the second phase and develop their summary into a business plan, which was due Oct. 30. For the final phase, five teams from each region will present plans to a panel of judges. Regional winners will be announced following the finalist presentations.

The first-place winner in each region will receive $25,000 in prize money. Second-place winners get $15,000, and third-place winners will receive $10,000. Associate sponsors at the regional competitions also can award in-kind services and cash prizes.

All Indiana residents were eligible to form a team, except for previous first-, second- and third-place winners. The competition also was open to out-of-state entrepreneurs who want to establish a new business or expand an existing company in Indiana.

Sponsors for the West Lafayette competition are the Indiana Small Business Development Center, Ernst & Young, Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union, Henriott Group, Shiel Sexton, Purdue Research Park, Vistech 1, Stuart & Branigin, the Lilly Endowment and Spring Mill Ventures.

Competition sponsors at northeast Indiana are the Indiana Small Business Development Center, IPFW, Purdue and Lilly Endowment. For the northwest competition, sponsors are Purdue North Central, Purdue Calumet, Hoeppner Wagner & Evans and Lilly Endowment.

In 2005 Quadraspec Inc. took the top prize in the $50,000 Opportunity for Indiana Business Plan Competition at West Lafayette. The company, which is based at the Purdue Research Park, is working to commercialize protein-diagnostics technology with a wide range of applications and has grown to employ more than 50 people.

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

Alan Rebar
"A key component to Discovery Park's success during its first five years is how it is sparking the creation of jobs and spurring economic development for all of Indiana," said Alan Rebar, executive director of Discovery Park and interim director of the Burton Morgan Center. "These business plan competitions are helping young Indiana companies take that important next step to grow their product lines or services and improve the state's economy."

The Burton Morgan Center, the first center launched in Discovery Park, is a platform for launching technology-based enterprises based on Purdue research. The center also helps faculty, students and entrepreneurs better understand how to bring research and technology to market and works closely with the Purdue Research Park to help commercialize the university's research.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Don Blewett, (765) 494-6400, blewett@purdue.edu

Alan Rebar, (765) 496-6625, rebar@purdue.edu

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

Note to Journalists: For more information on the competition, contact Phillip Fiorini, Purdue News Service, at (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu


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