Higher Education and Small Business & Startups

College students present ideas at business plan competition

March 31, 2016
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Colleges produce business plan competition
The MWest Challenge is produced by a number of colleges in the region for “entrepreneurial students” to compete for startup capital. Photo via fb.com

A regional business plan competition is back downtown tomorrow, giving more than 130 college students an opportunity to make their dreams an entrepreneurial reality.

Nearly 52 teams of college students will compete for a total of $40,000 in startup capital this Friday during the 2016 MWest Challenge at Grand Valley State University's Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids, at 301 Fulton W. St.

The event is being hosted by the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The competition

The MWest Challenge business plan competition is intended to foster entrepreneurship and create an opportunity for students to launch and grow new ventures.

Students will present their product, service or idea before a panel of judges. More than 45 experienced entrepreneurs, executives and business leaders from the community will be judges.

The judges will evaluate each team on a set of criteria: company, idea, market size, market strategy, management team and financials.

Awards

Based on an overall assessment, two teams will advance from each of the judging rooms to a final round for a chance to compete for awards in a number of categories: $6,500 for the Northwestern Mutual Grand Prize-Masterclass; $6,500 for the Northwestern Mutual Grand Prize-Early Stage; $5,000 for the Spectrum Health Care Innovation; $3,000 for the Amway Spirit of Entrepreneurship; $3,000 for Second Place-Early Stage; $2,000 for Third Place-Early Stage; and $1,000 for an Impact Award, which will be given to 14 teams.

Schools

Students on the 52 teams hail from nine West Michigan colleges: GVSU, Kendall College of Art and Design, Davenport University, Aquinas College, Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids Community College, Kuyper College and Hope College.

Schedule

The annual business plan competition kicks off at 7:30 a.m. with registration and check-in, before the first round of presentations begin at 8 a.m.

The final round will begin at 10:15 a.m. for the top 14 teams, and the competition will culminate with an award ceremony at 1:30 p.m.

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