The fifth-annual Donald W. Reynolds Oklahoma Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan competition has drawn intent-to-compete applications from 47 teams across the state.
That represents more than 150 Oklahoma would-be entrepreneurs who plan to submit business plans to commercialize new technology for this year’s competition. Thirty-two teams indicated they will submit business plans for the undergraduate completion, while 15 plan to compete in the graduate division.
Interest in the competition was fueled by dreams of entrepreneurship among Oklahoma college students and nearly $200,000 in cash prizes and $50,000 in in-kind services to help carry their companies forward.
Competing students are also eligible for $10,000 in scholarships provided by the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.
The competition is underwritten with a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, with AT&T as the presiding sponsor. It is managed by i2E, the OCAST-funded not-for-profit corporation that mentors many of the state’s new technology-based companies.
The applicants outlined business plans that span a broad range of technology, from advancing medical breakthroughs using nanotechnology-based coatings to kill bacteria to unique Web-based applications to sensors to detect explosives.
For instance, a team from Oklahoma City University submitted its intention to enter a business plan for a Web site that would match buyers and sellers in a haggle-free “reverse auction” for big-ticket items such as vehicles and real estate.
A team from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater plans to enter a business plan for sensor technology that would detect improvised peroxide-based explosives.
“We are excited about the level of interest in the competition and entrepreneurship on our state campuses,” said Tom Walker, President and CEO at i2E.
Deadline for submitting the business plans is March 9. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three teams in each division, with the top two teams in each division competing in the Tri-State competition May 26-28.
This year’s competition also features an Innovation Award that will be offered to the business plan best poised for commercialization with at least one team member moving forward with the company. The Innovation Award winner will receive up to $50,000 of in-kind services from local experts in areas such as branding, intellectual property and commercialization.
The top three Innovation Award presenters will make “elevator pitches” at the Governor’s Cup Awards Dinner on April 14. The winner will be announced at the Awards Dinner.