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Business and Finance

Business plan competition submissions due Friday for contest next week

Aspiring USF student entrepreneurs next week have the opportunity to win up to $7,500 in prize money.

Tampa-based Fintech (Financial Information Technologies Inc.) is sponsoring a business plan competition, which is open to companies with at least one current USF student in the ownership group. Early stage companies are welcome, but they must be legal entities in the State of Florida (C corp, S corp, LLC, or LLP) to receive the award.

Evaluation of the applications will take place this weekend. Six finalists will be chosen out of the 30-40 expected submissions.

According to Dr. Michael Fountain, founding director of USF’s Center for Entrepreneurship, five of the six finalists from last year’s competition are still in business.

“Three of those finalists have already received investor funding, allowing them to grow their businesses above and beyond what the competition allowed them to do,” he said.

Last year’s winning concept was Teburu - an online ordering and reservation system for restaurants.

The competition originated in 2009 and gives students “a chance to receive critical assessments and reviews of their new businesses with professional guidance on strategies and tactics to successfully fund and grow new ventures,” according to the website.

Participants must complete a business plan and articles of incorporation, which are not to exceed 25 pages. Deadline for submission is Friday, April 27 by 5 p.m.

The competition is May 4. A 15-minute Q&A will follow each company’s presentation in sessions totaling 30 minutes each.

The judges will feature USF Center for Entrepreneurship board members and faculty. Winners will be announced during an awards ceremony on the same day.

1st Place: $7,500

2nd Place: $5,000

3rd Place: $2,500

The winner will go on to compete against five to seven other universities at the Florida Venture Forum on May 10.


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