Six entrepreneurial projects have made it to the final round of the Olin Cup Competition. The finalists were selected from a group of 11 semi-finalists Thursday evening at a networking event at Washington University. The finalist were selected after all the competitors made a two-minute presentation before a panel of 20 judges comprised of private investors, business leaders, venture capitalists, accountants and attorneys. Two of the finalists are student-owned ventures.
The Olin Cup Competition is an annual business formation contest organized by The Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Teams are competing for a total of $70,000 in seed investments — awarded to those who create viable business ventures with a high probability of success. In addition to the $70k, a $5k grant will be awarded to the best student-owned venture — bringing the total prize money to $75,000.
This year’s finalists are:
- Champion4Fitness – a professional services company focused on the corporate wellness industry.
- homeWUrk (student owned) – web based retailer targeting the international student population coming to the US.
- iMobile Access Technologies (IMAT) – a company that will dramatically expand media and communication opportunities for the hearing impaired.
- iMirage Studios – a mobile photography service providing specialized, personalized, portrait quality photography services.
- Somark Innovations – an asset identification and tracking company using bio-compatible materials.
- Suzanne Shenkman Designs – (student owned) – a distinctive fashion accessories company that uses vintage men’s neckties.
The finalists will continue to compete over the next month. The winners will be announced at an event on Thursday, December 1.
“It takes a great deal of courage to share your ideas with the world, but it is even more courageous to make them a reality – and that is what all of these people are doing”, said Chris Dornfeld, Entrepreneurial Collaboration Director of the Skandalaris Center. “Many of the workshops and programs we offer like the Olin Cup, provide exposure, feedback and knowledge that improves all of the participants’ chances of success – the winners just get a little financial boost at the end as well.”
Throughout the year, the business formation competition holds workshops and other events to promote learning, collaboration and team formation. The events contribute to the competition’s goal to support the creation of new ventures and to help grow the entrepreneurial economy in St. Louis. The latest tool for this support is IdeaBounce, a program and Web site that assists in regional collaboration (www.ideabounce.com).