The deadline is at hand for entering the Five Ventures business plan competition put on by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, so Mark Wdowik, who runs the office of technology transfer at the university and oversees the event is quite a busy man.
“My goal is to get between 50 and 75 business plans,” Wdowik tells Local Tech Wire. “We’re getting a lot of press right now and a low of attention, but some companies entered the first day the new competition was announced.”
When Wdowik closes out entries this week, he expects to receive business plan summaries from a wide variety of entrepreneurs working in many fields, not just technology. Five Ventures is neither limited by university affiliation with UNCC nor by geographic region.
Entering its fourth year of competition, Five Ventures is proud to have drawn entries :from restaurants to recycling,” Wdowik says.
Last year’s winner, Shore Shredders, for example, are affiliated with East Carolina University and are developing means of getting more crabs to market.
The winning team gets $5,000 in cash but perhaps more importantly receives a wide variety of services support — such as accounting and public relations — from sponsors of Five Ventures. The founders of Shore Shredders, for example, have made clear to Five Ventures that the additional support they have received beyond the cash has been crucial to the growth of their firm.
“Lots of business plans are all about the money,” Wdowik said. “We’re not. We see the business in its entirety. We help them develop the infrastructure necessary for success.”
Five Ventures is designed to encourage entrepreneurship at UNCC as well as other institutions, Wdowik adds. “This is a tool for economic development for students and professors at UNCC and other schools. It helps secure partnerships with other companies who come in and want to work with them as partners.”
Five Ventures draws its name from the fact that five finalists will be selected in various rounds of competition. The top two receive cash.
The finalists for each of the events reflects the diversified nature of the competition.
In 2002, when the event was limited to UNCC related ventures, finalists included OpSource, Analytica, Photonex, MindValve and US Metrology.
In 2003, the final group included InsituTec, Bilingual Children’s Resources, Calyptix Security and IntePoint, which is a Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Blue Diamond Awards finalist this year, and UNC Chapel Hill spinout Singras.
Last year, Angiogen from Northwestern University, United Protective Technologies, which has licensed UNCC technology,MixSig Labs, Triad Semiconductor from the Piedmont and Shore Shedders made the finals.
The finals are set for April 7.
For more information, see: www.uncc.edu/ott