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The $60K Business Plan Competition attracts entrepreneurs seeking advice and seed funding for their business ideas. At left, Eric D. Schuster, MTPW'90, Elizabeth D. Schuster, MBS'99, and Stephen Arbetter, from finalist Boston Pedorthic Associates, display their products.

$60K Business Plan Competition Fosters Entrepreneurship

Northeastern is nationally known for producing graduates who go on to found successful companies. The $60K business Plan Competition, organized by the Center for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration, helps foster such innovation.

"I am a firm believer in entrepreneurial activity. So the business plan competition was a great match for my support of Northeastern."

Now in its seventh year, the competition — which is open to alumni, undergraduate and graduate students, and current and former faculty and staff — offers entrants expert guidance in creating a business plan, along with the chance to win $60,000 in seed funding. Each year, more than fifty individuals and teams participate.

Northeastern faculty, business professionals, and corporate sponsors act as advisers and mentors to entrants. A panel of prominent business leaders selects six finalists. The finalists then present their plans at an on-campus competition, and a winner is chosen.

"A strong business plan is essential to acquiring funding and getting a new business off the ground," says Ted Clark, who directs the program and is an executive lecturer in entrepreneurship at the College of Business Administration.

"The competition is a great learning experience for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing support and encouragement through the sometimes daunting process of preparing a compelling case," Clark says. "Entrants often say the advice and feedback they receive is just as valuable as the prize money."

The competition is proven training ground for entrepreneurial success. Past $60K winners, which include, LoanBright, StorageZip, and Husky Express, have successfully implemented their plans and become profitable businesses.

The winner of the 2003 competition, which concluded in May, was WAY Systems, which is developing cost-effective ways for merchants in emerging markets to accept wireless point-of-sale payment. According to vice president Scott Goldthwaite, MBA'99, the company will use the prize to support the design and manufacture of their first product.

Numerous alumni and friends have supported the business plan competition. Most recently, James C. Smith, BA'63 chairman of First Health, gave $100,000 to the program; he also served as a judge this year. Corporate sponsors include the law firm Hale and Dorr and financial-services giant Deloitte & Touche.

"I am a firm believer in entrepreneurial activity," says Smith. "So the business plan competition was a great match for my support of Northeastern."

Center for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship
College of Business Administration
  This article appeared in the September 2003 issue of Northeastern University Magazine.          

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