Second Annual UT Business Plan Competition Now Under Way

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Business Plan CompetitionIs your “inner entrepreneur” demanding to be set free? Do you want to join that elite group of individuals who have taken ideas and turned them into successful businesses, creating value, jobs and considerable wealth in the process?

If so, the College of Business Administration invites you to enter the second annual Business Plan Competition.

With the mission to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture and spirit of the university, the competition allows participants to enhance their understanding of new venture creation, polish their communication skills by presenting ideas to investor/judges and network with successful local entrepreneurs, business owners and venture capitalists.

All University of Tennessee undergraduate students are eligible. Students can enter any idea, from the world’s best lemonade stand to a new way to harness solar energy.

The 2009 competition is offering awards in two categories: Growth Businesses and Lifestyle Businesses. The top three plans in each category will win $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.

“The college designed the Business Plan Competition to simulate real-world entrepreneurial challenge and stress,” said Tom Graves, director of operations for UT’s new Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “By providing students with experiential, out-of-the-classroom learning opportunities, the university greatly enhances their chances for future success.”

“This competition provides participating undergraduate students an excellent chance to develop planning and persuasive presentation skills,” said Donde Plowman, interim head of the management department. “The Business Plan Competition is another way that the college is using applied learning to enhance the educational level of our graduates. I’m excited to see the plans that will be developed.”

Students can work individually or in teams of up to four people. The competition is encouraging students with both technical and commercial skills to come together to build strong, well-rounded teams. Each round of competition requires an exceedingly more difficult amount of quantitative and qualitative analysis that allows students to put theories they have learned into use.

Following are important dates in the competition:

  • Feb. 11 — Deadline for concept summaries to be submitted to the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at cei@utk.edu. (Requirements for concept summaries are listed under the “judging sequence” section on the Web site.)
  • Feb. 16 — Top 10 plans in each category will be announced. Winners will move on to the second round.
  • March 13 — Top 10 plans in each category will make a 15-minute presentation to the judging panel followed by five minutes for clarifying questions from the judges. This presentation will be supplemented by seven bound copies of the business plan for the judges’ review.
  • March 25 — The five finalists in each category will be announced.
  • April 3 — Final round of judging will take place. Teams will have five minutes for a “final sell,” followed by 20 minutes of questions from the judges.
  • April 7 — Winners announced.
  • April 10 — Awards presented.

The judges will be UT professors, local entrepreneurs, business professionals and individuals who serve the entrepreneurial community.

For more information, please visit http://www.bus.utk.edu/competition.

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