Gateway Community College (GCC) will host May 2 the 18th annual Entrepreneurship Foundation Connecticut New Venture Competition. The competition will take place from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m in GCC’s community room (N100).
The competition, which has taken place twice a year since 1997, engages teams of students from the entrepreneurship programs of Connecticut colleges and universities against each other in a format similar to the popular television show “SharkTank.” Each team prepares a business plan or business model canvas for an entrepreneurial venture – some are “personal” retail and service businesses while others are technology startups requiring venture capital investment – and defends the business plan “live” before a panel of entrepreneurs and investors.
After each presentation judges grill the students to test their knowledge of the product or service, the market, the competition, the capital required to launch the business, legal and tax issues that may impact the plan, and other matters.
According to Cliff Ennico, former host of “Money Hunt," a PBS television show, “There is no greater moment of drama than when an entrepreneur pitches his or her plan to a gimlet-eyed group of cynical investors. For many of these students, it’s the first time they’ve ever had to defend their ideas publicly and receive tough criticism. It’s always great to see how some of these kids rise to the challenge, but it’s even greater to see someone who blew it the first time come back in the next competition and knock the judges’ socks off.”
Ennico also is author of the nationally syndicated newspaper column Succeeding in Your Business and a successful publishing entrepreneur who has personally reviewed tens of thousands of business plans.
Prizes valued at more than $10,000 in cash and business services will be distributed among the finalists and are awarded in a number of categories including:
· Best Personal Business Plan or Business Model
· Best Venture Business Plan or Model
· Best Oral Presentation
· Best Online Submission (written Executive Summary)
· Best Social Enterprise
Competition sponsors also furnish “in kind” awards such as legal and accounting services, space in a business incubator, financial expertise and expert mentoring. Mike Roer, president of the Entrepreneurship Foundation, said that “the Competition is designed to promote entrepreneurship education at Connecticut colleges and universities, and to recognize outstanding achievement by students.”
While many teams come from undergraduate entrepreneurship courses, several come from postgraduate business and engineering programs. Winning teams in the past have come from virtually every college and university in Connecticut, including Yale University, Quinnipiac University, Western Connecticut State University (WCSU), the University of Hartford, Gateway Community College, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the University of New Haven, Fairfield University, the University of Bridgeport, Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), Sacred Heart University, and the University of Connecticut (UCONN), Gateway Community College, Housatonic Community College, and Manchester Community College.
Among the judges are some of the state’s leading entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists including: Manish Chowdhary, Goecart; Lindy Lee Gold, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development; Bill Kenney, Test My Pitch; Vincent Kiernan, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP; Eric Willinger, Webster Bank; and Jon Winkel, KODAK.
Investors, prospective participants and other members of the public who wish to attend the competition may contact Michael Roer at The Entrepreneurship Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 540 5903.
The Entrepreneurship Foundation, www.entrepreneurshipfoundation.org, www.entrepreneurshipfoundation.org, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Fairfield, Connecticut. It provides a variety of educational resources and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, incubator developers and teachers of entrepreneurship in Connecticut. In addition to the Connecticut Business Plan Competition, the Foundation supports the Connecticut Startup Weekends and the Connecticut Consortium of Entrepreneurship Educators (CCEE).