Greatest spectacle in business plan contests comes to Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Topic: Miller College of Business

March 11, 2009

Cash prizes, a jug of cold milk and a ride around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a fast pace car will be on the line March 20 when the nation's top collegiate entrepreneurs meet for Ball State University's annual business plan competition.

Hosted by Ball State's Entrepreneurship Center, the annual Nascent 500: Business Plan Challenge attracts students from universities across North America to the famous oval for an intense day of competition.

Teams will have 500 seconds (about 8 minutes) to pitch their business plans to judges in the back of a limousine as it travels around the track. Four teams will then advance to the "homestretch" round, presenting their plans for a shot at $18,000 in prizes. 

"We call it the greatest spectacle in business plan contests," said Michael Goldsby, director of Ball State's Entrepreneurship Center and the Stoops distinguished professor of entrepreneurship in the Miller College of Business. "We conduct it at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to honor a true Indiana tradition that brings hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to our state.

"We are looking at possibly some of the top new businesses to be developed in the next few years. It is always exciting to give aspiring professionals the opportunity to showcase their business plans on a stage like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."

Twelve teams invited to the track to compete as semifinalists, based on submitted business plans, include Anderson University, Belmont University, Brown University, Colorado State University, Haverford College, Illinois Institute of Technology, Ohio Northern University, U.S. Air Force Academy, University of Iowa, University of Manitoba, University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Houston.

The teams have a variety of  business plans, including Anderson University's White River Cards, an online project that would deliver fully customizable greeting cards to the recipient's mailbox; Brown University's SolarCycle, which is a low-cost reflective material that can replace mirrors in solar concentrating applications for developing countries; and Sweets Cosmetics from Colorado State University, a proposed cosmetics company that focuses on empowering women through healthy and environmentally friendly products.

Achieving top national rankings since it was founded in 1983, Ball State's entrepreneurship program has become well-known as the "ultimate entrepreneurial experience" because of the immersive learning opportunities provided to both undergraduate and graduate students. More information may be found at www.bsu.edu/entrepreneurship.

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