WINSTON-SALEM — The work of the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management did not go unnoticed in 2003 and likely won’t in 2004 with all that is planned as the center enters its fifth year of existence.

Most recently, on Dec. 15, Wake Forest landed a $2.16 million grant to further entrepreneurship on campus from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. This was not the first time, as the Kansas City-based foundation has recognized the school’s commitment to entrepreneurship in the past with grants, including funds for the The Kauffman/Angell Center for Entrepreneurship (KACE) National Case-Writing Competition.

“We are excited about seeing the possibilities that entrepreneurship can create on a liberal arts campus like Wake Forest,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “Wake Forest has already proven itself as a community dedicated to supporting students with new venture ideas. We are pleased to be able to support the university’s efforts.”

Wake Forest garnered more recognition in April, when the Angell Center was ranked No. 1 in the nation according to a poll of faculty by Entrepreneurship magazine. The center also was ranked in the top tier among the nation’s best entrepreneurship programs.

In January, the Angell Center started the year off right when it took first place in the 2003 U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship’s National Model MBA Program. Two relatively new programs helped the center achieve this recognition: the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, which partners with local non-profit agencies to form relationships in the Winston-Salem community, and the Babcock Demon Incubator.

A home for startups to grow

The Babcock Demon Incubator, which the Angell Center opened in 2001 and now operates, offers office space and Internet access for growing businesses. It houses three to five start-up businesses, with tenants admitted on a rolling basis throughout the year having the option of 12 months to grow and find a permanent location. The goal for the incubator is to launch businesses that have the potential to create economic impact in the Triad through jobs and business investment.

“The Babcock Demon Incubator offers our students the opportunity to launch their own business ventures with assistance from a network of other entrepreneurs and service providers,” said Angell Center Director Stan Mandel. “Similarly, the incubator offers area entrepreneurs the same opportunity but also the assistance of students to help complete their business plans.”

According to Dusty Donaldson, Babcock’s associate director for external relations, one of the incubator tenants that recently graduated now offers a streamlined method for conducting clinical trials that ultimately may help to fast-track FDA approval. Mobile Data Tools provides web-based ASP services and software that tracks and manages data for pharmaceutical companies.

Other businesses still housed in the incubator include the recently announced winners of the Triad Entrepreneurial Initiative annual business plan competition. Six winners were chosen in October to share in $9,000 in cash to help the business owners grow their companies. Wake Forest had two winners in the Spark Business Concept Competition. Deepa Patel was chosen for MedTech Inc., a biotechnology startup in Forsyth County, and Desiree McClimon and Amy Maguire won for The Sandbox Learning Co., an education technology firm also in Forsyth County.

Currently, four other tenants companies reside in the Babcock Demon Incubator. They are bath and body product company Adora Inc., CVI Development, software firm Incapita Inc. and Small Footprint. Recently graduated startups include denture company Altadonics, Triad Semiconductor, digital shopping firm Cygnetics Corp. and Thought Capital, which is developing a system to manage intellectual capital.

Competitions kick off new year

After wrapping up a busy and newsworthy 2003, the Wake Forest’s Angell Center for Entrepreneurship is starting off the new year with a competitive bang with two upcoming events.

First is the Babcock MBA Marketing Case Competition, which recently marked its 14th anniversary when it was held Jan. 29-31. The competition…the oldest of its kind in the country…featured teams of graduate business students battling to develop a marketing plan for a sponsoring company that remains undisclosed until the case is assigned.

The student teams then had 36 hours to prepare cases that were presented to a panel of expert judges and representatives of the sponsoring company. Cases focused on topical business issues.

Donaldson says the competition exposes students to realistic career challenges and provides employers with an opportunity to gauge the students’ marketing skills. Past sponsors include Apple Computer, Coca-Cola, GSK, Heineken, IBM, Lowe’s, Microsoft and R.J. Reynolds.

In addition to the Marketing Case Competition, the Angell Center is sponsoring the fifth annual Babcock Elevator Competition, which is set for March 26-27. The idea is for MBA students from the nation’s top universities to transform a two-minute elevator trip at the Wachovia Center in downtown Winston-Salem into the ride of a lifetime.

Approximately 30 teams of students will compete for the winning pitch during an elevator ride with a venture capitalist. The teams have the duration of two, two-minute elevator rides to sell the venture capitalists on their business idea. The event is the first of its kind in the nation.

A wide array of other programs

Supported primarily with an endowment funded by Winston-Salem area entrepreneur Don Angell and his family since 1999, the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest’s Babcock Graduate School of Management is involved in numerous other initiatives and programs. Below are at least four of the center’s more notable ventures.

The Family Business Center was established in 1999 by the Angell Center and recently expanded to include a site in Charlotte. Participation includes five sponsoring organizations and 36 member companies representing more than 100 family members. Each year, the center holds six or more programs that help members create stronger families and businesses.

Medical Technology Transfer is a program based on the Angell Center’s relationship with the WFU Office of Technology. It includes summer entrepreneurial internships, Management Consulting Practicum projects, and special initiatives such as FastTrac Tech, a 12-week program for individuals who want to launch new technology-based ventures.

Babcock Entrepreneurial Fellows are thirty professional (or “serial”) entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, service providers and chief executive officers that support the Angell Center.

Babcock Entrepreneurs receives financial support from the Angell Center from funds received through a Small Business and Technology Development grant. It goes towards such programs as the Babcock Entrepreneur’s Roundtable, speaker series, company visits, attendance at conferences and participation in venture capital competitions.

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