The Olin School of Business has launched its new “Olin Cup” entrepreneurship competition with an emphasis on life sciences, medicine, and technology start-ups, as well as other student started ventures. Start-up companies will vie for $70,000 in seed capital funding for their new businesses. Entrepreneurs and students can now review the program guidelines and register for the competition online at: http://www.olin.wustl.edu/cel/olinCup/register.cfm
The business school’s Skandalaris Entrepreneurship Program sponsors the competition.
Ken Harrington, director of the Skandalaris Entrepreneurship Program at the Olin School of Business, says that one of the primary goals of the new Olin Cup competition is “cross-campus collaboration” between the top-ranked business and medical schools at Washington University and among the vibrant and diverse business community leaders in the St. Louis area. St. Louis is becoming known for the growth of its burgeoning life and plant sciences industries, spurred on by the region’s new Danforth Plant Sciences Center and Washington University, as well as expansion of the world famous Missouri Botanical Garden.
“We’re looking to create an open forum for team formation,” says Harrington. “A business start-up idea can be submitted from anywhere in the University or community and funding will be made available to teams having only one Olin student or recent alumnus on the team. But we are also actively searching for sponsors and corporate partners who are interested in the promotional aspects of our program, including prominent representation on the new Olin Cup website.”
This year, the new Olin Cup competition will award seed funding to the winning teams in two divisions. $50,000 will be awarded for “high opportunity ventures” (businesses with the potential to be venture-capital funded) and $20,000 for “bootstrap ventures” (businesses started primarily by customers quickly adopting a new product).
Judges and team mentors for the Olin Cup competition will be selected from the St. Louis community as well as nationally, Harrington says, and will be matched with Olin’s business school teams.
“The new Olin Cup competition will also be a great forum for local business incubators to direct people with immature business plans submitted to them,” says Harrington. “Start-up companies can use this as a way to both refine plans and fill out their teams.”
The annual Olin Cup Competition was founded in 1987 at the Washington University business school and to date has resulted in the formation of over 56 new businesses by Olin business students. There are currently over 60 colleges and universities in the United States hosting business plan competitions.