MURFREESBORO — Business-minded MTSU students of any discipline looking for start-up cash have until Friday, Nov. 15, to register online for the first Student Business Idea Competition at Middle Tennessee State University.
The competition offers $2,500 in cash prizes to the winners — $1,200 for first place, $800 for second and $500 for third. Students may register at www.mtsu.edu/businessidea. Students can enter multiple ideas, but all ideas must be submitted online by the Friday deadline.
The Wright Travel Chair in Entrepreneurship in the Jones College of Business and the MTSU-Tennessee Small Business Development Center are sponsoring the competition, which is part of the university’s Global Entrepreneurship Week activities Nov. 15-22.
Dr. Patrick Geho, state executive director of MTSU-Tennessee Small Business Development Center, said the purpose was to “get the juices flowing” within the entire student body about pursuing entrepreneurship. The plan is to hold the competition each year.
“This is not intended for just the College of Business,” Geho said. “We’re engaging all students. We want to introduce them to the concept of ‘It starts with an idea.’”
Full-time students age 18 and older are asked to develop and submit original ideas for any type of business or social entrepreneurship venture. The only exception is that the ideas can’t be franchises or an existing business.
Students will be asked to state the reason why you think you've got a great business idea. They will also be asked to propose a name for the business, its location, brief description of the business, who the customers will be and how they will be reached.
“We’re trying to raise student awareness of all the opportunities to take their discipline, once they graduate, and learn how to convert their degree into an entrepreneurial opportunity,” Geho said.
A group of finalists will be picked from the online entries, with those finalists given the chance to make five-minute business pitches to a small panel of judges between 10 and 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22. The top three ideas will be selected.
The top winner may eventually become a client of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which offers expert counseling, training resources and professional referrals to small business owners and prospective owners at offices throughout the state.
Next year, Geho said his office will offer training earlier in the semester for students wishing to enter the competition but are not familiar with giving such business pitches.