The deadline for the area’s second $5,000 business plan competition this year is nearing for Five Ventures 2004.

The annual entrepreneur event, to be held at the Barnhardt Center on the campus of UNC Charlotte, is set for April 7. The coinciding Five Ventures business plan competition will culminate at the event.

Executive summaries for the competition are being accepted until March 5, when they must be received in electronic format by Ruth Burnett (raburnet@uncc.edu) at the UNC Charlotte Office of Technology Transfer (OTT).

In round two, 10 semi-finalist teams will be chosen to present Power Point presentations to the downselect committee. This round will be held in the Cameron Center on the campus of UNC Charlotte on March 23.

Five finalists will be selected to present at the so-named Five Ventures event on April 7. Finalists will receive mentoring to prepare for final presentations in the areas of accounting and management, intellectual property, legal services, public relations and marketing, and financing

The competition is open to faculty, staff and students at all regional universities, including all university-affiliated, early stage, pre-A round start-up companies or business ideas. Previous finalists are ineligible

Judges will base their decisions on nine qualities: business viability, business opportunity, knowledge of industry, knowledge of market, knowledge of competition, business acumen, quality of management team, ability to focus and communication skills

The winning team will receive a check for $5,000.

In January, the Business Innovation and Growth (BIG) Council, formerly the Metrolina Entrepreneurial Council (MEC) held a $5,000 business plan competition. Winners were announced at the BIG Event, when the MEC also unveiled its new name.

Mark Wdowik, executive director of the UNC Charlotte OTT, helped organize the BIG competition and is now heading up Five Ventures, for which BIG is a host sponsor.

UNC Charlotte OTT: www.uncc.edu/ott