Business Plan Contest Needs Faculty Judges, Mentors

Posted: September 13, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

Teams of George Mason students will have a chance this fall to use their knowledge and creativity to develop a business plan that will knock a panel of faculty and corporate judges off its feet–and possibly win big bucks in the process. The business plan contest, sponsored by the Mason Enterprise Center as a means of stimulating an entrepreneurial spirit at George Mason, is modeled after similar contests held at MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and other universities. The three winning teams will receive prizes of $6,000, $4,000, and $2,000, and will have the opportunity to present their plans to venture capital sources for potential funding.

“The contest is open to all disciplines, from information technology to nursing to fine arts,” says Paul Hall, director of program development for the Mason Enterprise Center. “We want to encourage interest in entrepreneurship across the whole university.”

The contest has two stages: a three-page business concept proposal to be submitted by Nov. 17, 2000, and a complete business plan to be submitted by April 16, 2001. The 10 teams with the best business concepts win $100 each and go on to submit their business plans to the second part of the contest. Entries are judged by a panel of business leaders and George Mason faculty members. Awards are provided through corporate donations from Xert Communications, Columbia Capital, and Hunton and Williams.

After submitting a plan, each student team is assigned a faculty or corporate mentor, who will guide them through the process. In addition to answering questions, providing focus, playing devil’s advocate, and evaluating the team’s presentation, mentors will help brainstorm possible partnerships, lend advice on protecting intellectual property and applying for patents, and provide relevant industry contacts. Mentors from all areas of the university are needed. To apply to be a mentor or to register for the contest, contact Hall at x38129 or

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