April 19, 2006

Business plan competition at Weatherhead School of Management to showcase innovative plans for start-up companies

Winner Could Receive up to $100,000

Innovative business concepts will be on display later this month at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, when seven teams of business students and entrepreneurs present their ideas for new companies in a competition that could win them up to $100,000.

The teams will be competing in the first annual "$100K Innovation Challenge @Case." The competition, one of the few organized and run entirely by students, is sponsored by the Weatherhead School of Management's Entrepreneurship Club and co-sponsored by The Institute for Management and Engineering (TiME) at Case. The judging and awards presentation will take place Thursday, April 20 in the George S. Dively Building on the Case campus.

This is the fifth year for the competition, which was known previously as the Case Business Launch Competition and sponsored entirely by TiME.

Brady Mullin, president of the Entrepreneurship Club and a second-year MBA student said the competition received more than 120 entries. "We were extremely pleased with the number and quality of the plans submitted to us, Mullin said. "Many came from students attending top entrepreneurship programs at places like MIT, Yale, Duke, Babson, Rice and Purdue. Their desire to be part of this contest is a reflection of the quality of the entrepreneurship program at the Weatherhead School."

The majority of the funding for the competition will be provided by TiME, with additional monies coming from the Weatherhead School. The portion contributed by TiME, $75,000, is sponsored by the Joseph P. and Nancy Keithley Foundation and the National Science Foundation. It will go to a student- or company-generated plan from Northeast Ohio. The remaining $25,000, from Weatherhead, is earmarked exclusively for a student plan from anywhere in the country. A student winner from Northeast Ohio could win the entire $100,000.

The initial list of 120 entries was winnowed to 20 semifinalists then to seven finalists. Among the judges for the final competition are Michael Feuer, founder of OfficeMax, Inc. and CEO of Max-Ventures, LLC; Tim Mueller, president of Phylogy, Inc. and former chief development officer for the City of Cleveland; Cathy Panzica, corporate transactions and securities attorney for the law firm Thompson Hine, LLP; William S. Trainor, general partner of Mutual Capital Partners, and Lynn-Ann Gries, chief investment officer of JumpStart, Inc.

Finalists in the competition are:

  • Advanced Conductors (Babson College), a manufacturer of nano-composite films that enable brittle ceramic materials to obtain flexible properties.
  • Avanti Metal Company, which has developed a method for selling titanium products at a fraction of their current price and creating one percent of the hazardous waste and pollution of current methods.
  • Bio Fuel, which is working to become a leader in the production and sale of celluloid ethanol by obtaining significant technological breakthroughs through biotechnology and engineering.
  • Bright Light Innovations (Colorado State University), whose goal is to produce and distribute to third-world nations cook stoves that will produce electricity and reduce bio mass consumption by 20%.
  • Fast Optimum LLC, which has created a software optimization tool that works with a compiler to accelerate engineering software by 200% or more.
  • Game Communications, LLC (Case Western Reserve University), which is developing proprietary voice communication software and providing high-quality voice communication service to the rapidly growing professional eSports athlete and amateur computer game player markets.
  • Thermacom (Utah State), a start-up company developing a thermal imaging device for pediatric urologists and their patients with Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR). The device is based on a noninvasive, patented process for diagnosing this condition.

The Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management is an international center of management scholarship, committed to preparing and enhancing organizational leadership. The Weatherhead School is dedicated to making discoveries of enduring consequence, developing innovative educational programs, fostering strategic partnerships with students and organizations, and providing services to multiple communities.

The Institute for Management and Engineering (TiME) brings together the resources of the Case School of Engineering and Weatherhead School of Management to help students and technology-based companies learn how to integrate engineering and management to achieve superior organizational performance. TiME's mission is to foster the integration of these disciplines through academic programs, such as the Master of Engineering and Management (MEM) program, experiential learning opportunities and industry interface.

For more information: Jeff Bendix 216-368-6070.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, April 19, 2006 09:11 AM | News Topics: Awards, Case School of Engineering, Weatherhead School of Management

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