Innovative Business Ventures and Student Teams Compete for $50,000 Prizes
UNC Charlotte's Five Ventures business competition celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. This annual contest, sponsored by the Charlotte Research Institute, Belk College of Business, Office of Technology Transfer and the Ben Craig Center, includes a series of events beginning with a business planning workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 2. It will culminate in a gala finals competition and awards event Thursday, April 14.
According to organizers, this year's event will celebrate Charlotte's growing entrepreneurial community and showcase the region's business and professional leaders.
The 2011 Five Ventures competition will accept entries in two distinct categories: student ventures and for-profit and social enterprise ventures. Competitors must be located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee or Virginia. Student teams must be enrolled in community colleges or four-year institutions. Winning companies will receive prizes totaling $50,000, including cash and in-kind services from leading professional service providers. Five Ventures business plan submission deadline is March 1.
Since 2001, Five Ventures has showcased many of the most promising early-stage companies from North Carolina and surrounding states. Participating innovators and entrepreneurs have benefited from visibility and connections to resources in the greater Charlotte region.
Contestants this year can sharpen their business strategy by participating in three workshops addressing opportunity development and assessment. Semi-finalists will be selected based on written submissions and, upon selection, will be offered a workshop to prepare for verbal presentations to a judging panel of entrepreneurs, investors and venture experts. Each finalist will work with a mentor team of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Ventures that make it through this process will compete in the finals, which will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., April 14, at the Barnhardt Student Activity Center. This event will feature a keynote address and dynamic presentations by students and five non-student finalists. A networking reception will provide an opportunity for the community to meet the creative talent leading these new ventures.
For more information, visit www.fiveventures.com
Five Ventures History
In 2001, the Five Ventures Business Innovation Competition was founded with the goal of helping early-stage UNC Charlotte businesses grow. Since then, through the support of sponsors, service providers and a number of dedicated partners, Five Ventures has grown into an economic development competition attracting companies from all over North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. The competition now includes both student and non-student competitors. More than 85 start-ups have made it to the finals where they have been mentored by experts from our community. Alumni companies have raised more than $40M in venture capital and have continued to gain national and international attention.
"Five Ventures helped me by taking my idea and turning it into a plan that was vetted through a process that I would have otherwise paid a lot of money for." said Will Rice of Fix-It-Yourself Garage. Rice is a 2010 Five Ventures competitor and UNC Charlotte alumnus. "I participated in Five Ventures for two years. The greatest benefit has been sharing ideas with the mentors and otherentrepreneurs. I didn't win the contest but I met my business partners and early investors," he added.
Friday February 4, 2011