Five Indiana University-Purdue University students will be heading west in a few weeks to take part in one of the most prestigious collegiate business plan competitions in the world at the University of San Francisco, March 25 and 26, at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco, Calif.
Eighty to ninety teams from colleges and universities all around the world submit written plans in the first round of competition; of those plans, 18 to 22 are selected to be presented in person by their teams.
Amy Boyer, Anthony Petris, Chris Zoeller, Mhariel McDonald, and Anthony McDonald make up IPFW’s team, BioJoint Technologies, which is coached by Bill Todorovic and Jun Ma, both assistant professors of management and marketing in the Richard T. Doermer School of Business and Management Sciences (DSBMS), and Remound Wright of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC).
Todorovic says preparation for the competition was fairly intensive. “Our team invested almost every weekday evening, and ten-hour weekend days for almost two weeks to make a submission. Students were instructed to present a plan that is fully defendable, meaning that every number and every assumption is justified. Once the students came up with a preliminary business plan, Professor Ma, Mr. Wright, and myself would provide continuous feedback.”
Being on the team has been an incredible experience for Anthony McDonald, who came back to IPFW to obtain his MBA because of this level of competition. “By being selected as a semi-finalist we have already gained the recognition of being one of the Top 20 teams in the world.
Once in San Francisco we will compete for the first place grand prize of $10,000. Although winning the grand prize is one of our goals as a team in this competition, it will be a success if we are able to obtain venture capital funding so we can pursue this business opportunity. We feel that we have a truly unique product that will revolutionize the orthopedic industry,” said McDonald.
Otto Chang, dean of DSBMS, says having a team in the San Francisco competition means the school truly lives up to what IPFW is all about, “...that is, we are Purdue plus Indiana, that our students can take an engineering innovation, develop it into a viable product in the market, and pass the highest financial threshold of venture capitalists in the Silicon Valley. It means our students are as creative, innovative, and as entrepreneurial as students from Duke, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, and UCLA.” In the 2008 competition, IPFW’s Immersive Technologies team won the Social Enterprise Award.
Chang, Todorovic, and Wright will accompany the students to the competition. Chang says they are looking for sponsors to help defray the cost of the trip for the students. If a company or individual is interested in sponsoring the team, they can contact Chang at 260-481-6461. For more information on the team and the competition, contact Todorovic at 260-481-6940.