The 2008 Entrepreneur Challenge: New name signals new opportunities.

Erica Courtney, winner, New Venture Challenge 2007

In recent years, the New Venture Challenge business plan competition gave budding entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their business plans and turn those plans into viable, profitable businesses.  This tradition has been part and parcel of the College of Business Administration’s commitment to preparing its students for entrepreneurial endeavors.

This year, the tradition continues with a new name: the 2008 Entrepreneur Challenge. The scope of the challenge has changed as well, introducing two new competition tracks—investment and social entrepreneurship. The college’s Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center will host the event with sponsorships from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In both tracks, the top-prize winner receives $10,000 and the runner-up receives $2,500.

In another change, the center has opened the competition to not only Florida International University students and alumni but also to local residents.

Two challenge tracks broaden and strengthen the competition.

To qualify for the competition’s Investment Track, the proposed venture must address the complete business concept—from startup through implementation—and qualify as an original seed stage, for-profit, start-up venture. The plan should demonstrate a significant return on investment and scalability. This track is open to all university students and alumni.

For the competition’s Social Entrepreneurship Track, the plan should focus on the creation of social value in a significant, sustained manner. The business plan mission and practices should incorporate a quantifiable social or environmental bottom line. The proposed venture must be an original seed stage, start-up social venture. All university students and alumni are invited to participate—as are residents from Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach Counties.

“We are excited to expand the Entrepreneur Challenge into new areas and to welcome new participants,” said Colleen Post (MBA ’03, BFA ’00), associate director, Pino Center. “We feel this gives the university and the Southeast Florida community an unprecedented opportunity to showcase new ideas while providing a forum to attract investment for innovative business models and sustainable social messages.”

You be the judge.

The Pino Center wants to make new connections with potential judges for this year’s Entrepreneur Challenge.

“Typically, judges are professionals experienced in the investment or social entrepreneurship sectors,” Post said. “Entrepreneurs. Lawyers. Accountants. People working in operations or finance. All make excellent judges.”

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