Posts Tagged ‘Tulane Entrepreneurs Association’
Friday, February 28th, 2014
The Tulane Entrepreneurs Association (TEA) has announced eight semi-finalists for the group’s newly revamped Tulane Business Model Competition.
The 2014 Tulane Business Model Competition will award $35,000 to startup ventures with consumer-tested business ideas.
After a 13-year-run, the contest was redesigned to better reward the practical aspects of what make startups successful – the ability to rapidly adapt to customers’ needs. It offers a $25,000 grand prize and $10,000 for the runner-up.
“From food carts and hospitality ventures to educational technology and biomedical devices, our eight finalists truly represent a cross-section of the New Orleans startup scene,” says Ralph Maurer, executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship. “I’m looking forward to seeing how these talented young entrepreneurs hone their business models in preparation for the final competition on April 11.”
The semi-finalists are:
• ComeFail, a space for college students to fail safely and a platform for supportive learning and exploration.
• CCC, a venture that offers customized volunteer and hospitality experiences for customers so that they can easily enjoy, learn, and support New Orleans like never before.
• Fleur de Latkes, a new food cart and catering business in uptown New Orleans that specializes in bringing a modern take on your “bubbe’s” Jewish cooking down to NOLA.
• InVision Biomedical, a firm that takes existing innovative procedures and implements novel medical devices, expanding patient safety and hospital cost efficiency.
• Million Dollar Scholar, an education technology and services venture that addresses higher education affordability by providing students with an online platform to learn how to become successful in the scholarship application process
• Threadix, an event management and data analytics company utilizing the latest technological innovations in near field communication to allow advertisers and event organizers new methods to expand branding opportunities.
• Tympanogen, a firm commercializing a gel patch developed at Tulane University, called Perf-Fix™, for non-surgical repair of chronic tympanic membrane perforations.
• US Fresh Cane, a sugar cane drink company that provides consumers an alternate and natural drink that can improve their health and fitness levels.
Semi-finalists receive $1,000 each and get to pitch, receive mentoring and network with a variety of lean startup experts on Tuesday, March 25, during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, the sixth annual premier showcase event for the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ultimately, three finalists will present their business models at Tulane University on Friday, April 11, 2014.
Tulane is now taking after the International Business Model Competition, a contest that wants ventures to prove customer validation and adapt to the process of creating a business model. Instead of intensive library research, student entrepreneurs will get out in the field and prove their assumptions.
TEA President Adrian Mendez believes the competition provides a deeper learning opportunity and a more guided process for those interested in launching and running a company. “Essentially what we’re doing is creating an evolution of what has been established at Tulane, allowing for students to quickly prototype and execute ideas instead of just participating in a one time pitch.”
“The competition has always been a flagship event that supports local–now regional– entrepreneurs and programs,” Mendez says. “As the program grows, we hope to continue to motivate and inspire students to be on the forefront of entrepreneurial activity with the resources we provide.”
Follow the Tulane Business Model Competition on Facebook at facebook.com/tulanebusinessmodelcompetition and on Twitter at twitter.com/tulanebmc.
Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
After hosting one of the region’s premiere college business plan competitions for 14 years, the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association (TEA) has completely redesigned the contest to better reward the practical aspects of what make startups successful – the ability to rapidly adapt to customers’ needs.
The 2014 Tulane Business Model Competition will award more than $35,000 in prizes to new business ventures demonstrating a customer-validated business model.
Instead of rewarding the theoretical, the new contest wants ventures to show they’ve worked with potential customers to vet their services, adapted to those needs and shown the ability to quickly change course if the market disproves their assumptions. The new Tulane Business Model Competition offers a $25,000 grand prize and a $10,000 award for runner-up.
“In this contest, sleek presentations are not going to cut it,” said Ralph Maurer, executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business. “Participants won’t be rewarded for overly ambitious sales projections, drawing fancy graphs or crafting the perfect pitch to venture capitalists.”
Instead the contest rewards teams for breaking down their idea into a key business model hypotheses; testing their assumptions with customers; applying Customer Development/Lean Startup principles to make sure they nail the solution; and learning to pivot until they have a customer-validated business model.
The contest is open to any team led by at least two or more students enrolled in a college or university. To enter, teams must submit a video presentation – normally a voice annotated slide deck no longer than 10 minutes – online by 11:59, Feb 14. More details on submission criteria are available at: http://tulane2014.istart.org/ .
“Entering the first round of the competition doesn’t require a significant time investment, and it’s a worthwhile exercise for anyone working on a startup,” Maurer said.
TEA will select eight semi-finalists who will win $1,000 each and get to pitch, receive mentoring and network with a variety of lean startup experts on Tuesday, March 25, in New Orleans. Ultimately, three finalists will present their business models at Tulane University on Friday, April 11, 2014.
- Keith Brannon
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
The Internet is a powerful force that’s still evolving in unexpected, exciting and cool ways. The promise of the Internet is that “it actually lets us achieve our maximum for awesome,” said Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, a social news and entertainment website with 81 million unique visitors a month.
Tulane alumnus Erik Martin, right, general manager of Reddit, a wildly successful social news and entertainment website, and Alexis Ohanian, Reddit’s co-founder, discuss the advantages of being a humanities major in a tech world. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
Ohanian spoke at a Tulane Entrepreneurs Association event on Friday (Nov. 1) as part of a 150-stop bus tour promoting his book Without Their Permission.
All links on the World Wide Web are created equal, Ohanian pointed out. “That means that any one of us with our Internet connections and our great ideas can spread them faster and further than ever before. We can use the Internet as an amazing stage and library for knowledge.”
Joining Ohanian on stage was the general manager of Reddit, Erik Martin, a 1999 Tulane University graduate.
Ira Solomon, dean of the A. B. Freeman School of Business, introduced Martin — named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people — as “perhaps Tulane’s favorite alum who is at the center of the tech world.”
Reddit is a bulletin board, where users post links and original text, called “selfs.” It is “an extremely powerful voice for sharing knowledge and for shaping public opinion,” said Solomon.
“Subreddits” are postings organized by subject areas. Reddit users vote up or down on postings, determining a posting’s ranking and position on the page.
Martin said that his education (he earned a BA in American studies) taught him how to recognize cultural patterns, a skill that comes in handy now as he organizes the intersections of interesting things “to unpack and explore” on Reddit postings.
“I’ve been lucky enough to do at Reddit [what he did as an American studies major] … to look and see how there’s something really interesting going on,” Martin said. “Let’s see where it can go.”
— Mary Ann Travis
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
Tulane startups in nutrition, medical technology and public health will compete for $50,000 next month in the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association’s (TEA) 13th annual Tulane Business Plan Competition.
The 13th annual Tulane Business Plan Competition will take place on Friday, April 19, 2013, at the A. B. Freeman School of Business.
TEA announced finalists for the business plan competition, which is open to student innovators from around the world, as well as the Domain Companies New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge, which awards $20,000 to the best plan for New Orleans-based venture with strong growth potential and positive local impact.
Tulane Business Plan Competition finalists include: Be Well Nutrition, a nutritional beverage startup; Humanure Power, which aims to provide sustainable sanitation and electricity to rural India; and TRUE-See Systems, a healthcare venture that has a new high-resolution digital system for diagnostic imaging. While 51 companies from 21 universities and four countries entered the contest, this is the first year that all finalists are from Tulane.
Finalists for the Domain Companies Challenge include Be Well Nutrition, TRUE-SEE Systems and Haystack EDU, an online platform to help connect schools and teachers.
Both contests focus on ventures committed to conscience capitalism, which is based on the belief that a business can benefit both the community and major stakeholders.
“In today’s world, young business leaders are looking for ways to do business better, while making a bigger, sustainable impact. That is why our competition awards those with the best plans to achieve all around conscious capitalism – maintaining high standards and integrity, while serving itself, its employees, investors, the community and the entire world,” said TEA President Callan Maumus. “The companies chosen as finalists represent the value of conscious capitalism and know that the pursuit of a higher purpose is mandatory in doing business in today’s global marketplace.”
All finalists will present their plans to judges in a live event starting at 8:30 a.m., Friday, April 19, at the A. B. Freeman School of Business. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.tea.tulane.edu.
Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Jerrycans — 20-liter plastic containers ubiquitous in third-world countries — are a favorite for relief organizations because they’re so versatile for storing water or fuel and easily transportable. What if they could be adapted to work double-duty as a cheap disinfection device in areas with scant access to clean water? A medical student and a graduate student at Tulane University have a novel idea.
Medical student Olivia Chang and engineering grad student Alex Girau, founders of SODI-CAN, will compete for a $50,000 prize in Friday’s Tulane Business Plan Competition. (Photo by Theodore Pei)
It’s an idea that third-year medical student Olivia Chang came up with while working for a relief agency in Tanzania in east Africa. Since then, she’s teamed up with Alex Girau in the School of Science and Engineering to develop SODI-CAN, a plastic container that uses solar energy to disinfect water. The venture won $5,000 last year in the Tulane School of Medicine’s inaugural Medical Science Innovation Challenge and it is one of three finalists competing for $50,000 in Friday’s Tulane Business Plan Competition.
SODI-CAN uses a proprietary coating inside the container to enhance the sun’s ability to heat up water to kill germs and bacteria. Depending on the time and season, it can take anywhere from a few minutes or hours in the sun to work, Chang said.
“At 135 degrees Fahrenheit, most pathogens can be killed within minutes,” Chang says. “The longer the exposure and the higher the temperature eliminate even more bacteria and viruses.”
Chang and Girau are planning to use any prize money to develop prototypes to test the product in New Orleans. The venture is also a finalist in the Jumo Welcome to the Good Challenge. Online voting for the contest runs through April 15. Ultimately, Chang has very high goals for SODI-CAN, hoping that one day they will replace jerrycans across the globe.
The Tulane Business Plan Competition takes place from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Friday (April 13) in Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II on the uptown campus. Other finalists include medical device firm Calcula from Stanford University and pharmaceutical venture EpiQi Sciences from Brigham Young University.
Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
The Tulane Entrepreneurs Association (TEA) has announced the six finalists for the 2012 Tulane Business Plan Competition and Domain Companies New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge, which together will award $70,000 in cash prizes to two promising new ventures.
The Tulane Business Plan Competition is the nation's only business plan competition dedicated to the principles of Conscious Capitalism.
The competitions will take place at the A. B. Freeman School of Business on Tulane University’s uptown campus on Friday, April 13, with the winners to be announced later that evening during the Tulane Council of Entrepreneurs Awards Gala at the Audubon Tea Room.
The Tulane Business Plan Competition, now in its 12th year, will award a grand prize of $50,000 to the most promising new venture that embodies the principles of Conscious Capitalism. In addition, competition partner and sponsor the Domain Companies will award a prize of $20,000 to the venture with the greatest potential economic impact on New Orleans.
“We received 52 applications from 18 universities in three countries for this year’s competition,” said Court Robinson (MBA ’12), president of TEA. “Narrowing those outstanding entries down to six finalists was difficult, but the exceptional quality of this year’s entrants is a testament to both the growth of Conscious Capitalism and the growing reputation of the Tulane Business Plan Competition.”
The three finalists in each competition are listed below.
TULANE CONSCIOUS CAPITALISM BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION – $50,000
Calcula, Stanford University
Calcula is developing novel urological medical devices for the removal of kidney stones without anesthesia. The opportunity is a disruption in the field of urology and has significant patient impact.
EpiQi Sciences, Brigham Young University
EpiQi Sciences is a drug repositioning firm formed to reposition an already-FDA-approved drug from its existing disease to treat anemia of chronic inflammation (ACI). After a projected three-year window to complete repositioning, EpiQi Sciences will license its patent rights to pharmaceutical companies and collect royalties over an extended 20-year patent life.
SODI-CAN, Tulane University
SODI-CAN is a dual-purpose water vessel that stores and disinfects water utilizing solar energy. The project was developed through the Tulane University School of Medicine’s Medical Science Innovation Competition in 2011 with the purpose of conceptualizing a novel method of providing clean water to people. The idea began in Tanzania, where people walk miles carrying water to-and-from water springs, only to suffer from microbial related illnesses with inadequate water disinfection. The introduction of water disinfection methods has been hindered by cost-effectiveness, design limitations, community scale-ups and cultural appropriateness.
DOMAIN COMPANIES NEW ORLEANS ENTREPRENEUR CHALLENGE – $20,000
Bideo, Loyola University
Bideo.com (bid + video) is the world’s first auction exchange for real-time trading of news video and photos. Bideo allows user-creators and citizen photojournalists to protect and sell exclusive images to news publications in a competitive bidding environment. The C2B platform combines free market dynamics, digital rights management, consumer technology and transparency to provide owners of rare, high-demand footage with the framework and tools needed to monetize big media’s soaring demand for this emerging source.
Nanofex, University of New Orleans
NanoFex, a Tulane University spinout based in New Orleans, is a for-profit company that addresses the demand for groundwater treatment by providing a novel, affordable, effective method for remediating hazardous chemicals commonly found in soil and groundwater.
ReactWell, Tulane University
ReactWell develops, manufactures and operates energy efficient underground geothermal reactor systems to economically produce and sell crude oil, bioproducts and other high-value oils, while increasing biomass growth rates. ReactWell is pioneering algae-based advanced biofuel technology by combining proven geothermal technology, bulk open-pond algae raceways, and solar energy to naturally, safely, and cost-effectively cultivate algae to produce valuable crude oil. ReactWell’s proprietary technology converts total biomass and waste into crude oil and other co-products that are cost competitive compared to conventional oils derived from fossil fuels, plants, or animal fats.
The 2012 Tulane Business Plan Competition is made possible with the generous support of the following sponsors: Domain Companies, Freeman School Graduate Business Council, Freeman School Dean’s Office, Baker Donelson, Tulane Association of Business Alumni, Tulane Business Forum, Jones Walker, Legacy Capital, New Orleans BioInnovation Center, Crescent Bank and Trust/Gary Solomon, Tulane Graduate and Professional Schools Association, Oracle Capital, Ron Ondechek Jr. and Ian Jones.
For more information about the event or to register to attend, visit http://tbpc2012.eventbrite.com/
Monday, December 6th, 2010
The Tulane Entrepreneurs Association kicks its 2011 Tulane Business Plan Competition up a notch with a new competition and a $50,000 top prize for the company with the best sustainable business model rooted in the ideals of conscious capitalism.
Sunil Bhardwaj and Sameer Hajee won the grand prize of $50,000 in last year's Tulane Business Plan Competition with their plan for Nuru Light, a conscious capitalism venture that distributes affordable rechargeable lights in Africa.
“Conscious Capitalism incorporates the principles of social entrepreneurship which are based on the belief that one can do good for the world while doing well for oneself,” says Tulane Entrepreneurs Association (TEA) President Chris Williams. “With this in mind, we feel that New Orleans is the perfect city to host the competition that highlights this progressive concept.”
The competition, organized by students at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business, offers the biggest cash prize of any student-run business plan competition in the country and is the only business plan competition in the nation dedicated to the principles of conscious capitalism.
The contest attracts applicants from top-tier universities across the United States and internationally. Any business venture can apply as long as one of the principals is an enrolled student at an accredited university. The deadline to apply is Jan. 23. Three rounds of judging will take place beginning in late January. The top three teams will be invited to present their plans before a panel of
judges and a live audience on Friday, April 8, at the Freeman School.
This year, thanks to the support and sponsorship of a successful real estate development firm founded by two Tulane business school alumni, TEA is expanding the contest to add a new prize that focuses specifically on New Orleans. The Domain Companies New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge, which is sponsored by The Domain Companies, will award $20,000 to the company that presents the best plan for the creation or expansion of a New Orleans-based business that demonstrates strong growth potential and positive local impact.
For more information about this year’s competition and details on how to enter, visit www.tea.tulane.edu.
Monday, November 22nd, 2010
Disposing of used cooking oil is an unpleasant cost of doing business for most restaurants, but one local group is turning that task into green—green fuel, green jobs and green cash.
Hamilton Simons-Jones, left, of the Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project, shakes hands with Joel Tilton of New Orleans Panthers FC as master of ceremonies Chris Reade, center, looks on. Simons-Jones won first place and Tilton won the audience favorite prize at this year's PitchNOLA competition. (Photo by Erica Stavis)
The Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project, which trains inner-city youths to convert used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel, took home first place and a cash prize of $5,000 at the 2010 PitchNOLA competition, an elevator pitch competition for local social entrepreneurship ventures. The event took place Wednesday (Nov. 17) in the Woldenberg Art Center’s Freeman Auditorium on Tulane’s uptown campus.
The competition—a joint presentation of Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO), Tulane University’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives, the A. B. Freeman School of Business, the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association and the Young Leadership Council—gave 10 social entrepreneurs three minutes each to pitch their ventures before a panel of judges and a live audience of more than 150 people. The judges evaluated the ventures, which ranged from a fleet of eco-friendly taxi cabs to swimming lessons for urban kids, and provided the entrepreneurs with feedback on their ideas and presentations.
The Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project collects used cooking oil from restaurants, which earn a tax deduction for their donations, and sells the clean-burning biodiesel fuel it makes to fleets and distributors, but the project’s true focus is its social mission. The group provides technical training and job skills to out-of-work young people between the ages of 14 and 25, many of them high school dropouts with few alternatives. In addition to gaining valuable skills for the emerging green economy, all graduates of the program earn a certificate from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), which qualifies them for a variety of well-paying jobs.
Judging this year's competition were, left to right, John Elstrott, Robin Keegan and Roy Glapion. (Photo by Erica Stavis)
“They’re reaching an audience that can really use the help, they have a sustainable plan and they’re building on things that are already in the market,” said John Elstrott, executive director of the Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship and one of this year’s judges. “It was a nice program, and we wanted to give them help.”
Hamilton Simons-Jones, chief development officer at Operation Reach Inc., which runs the Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project, said the cash prize will help the group scale up its training program, but he added that one of the biggest benefits of the competition was the chance to network with other social entrepreneurs.
“There were a couple of people who were finalists that I made sure to get cards from,” said Simons-Jones. “We depend on community support and understanding of our work, so to have such a diverse audience like this is awesome.”
In addition to the Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project, New Orleans Panthers FC, which operates a soccer club for Central City youths funded in part by a community garden that supplies produce to local restaurants, won a prize of $500 for being voted as favorite pitch by audience members.
Ann Davis of Swim 4 Success, which provides free-of-charge swimming lessons to local kids, gets feedback from the judges after delivering her pitch. (Photo by Erica Stavis)
“We don’t plan on soliciting grants all that much, but if something comes up again, this experience will definitely be a benefit,” said Joel Tilton of New Orleans Panthers FC. “I made some connections and met some interesting people. It’s been a good experience.”
PitchNOLA received nearly 100 entries this year, twice the number it received in 2009. According to Andrea Chen, chair of SENO, that increase speaks to the growth of social entrepreneurship in New Orleans.
“Every year more and more people have ideas, and they’re starting to take action on them because they see all the great examples of people who were just like them,” said Chen. “These are community members who said here’s a problem, I can step up to the plate and solve it and make an impact in my community.”
Funding for this year’s program was provided by Penny Hart, a Tulane parent and member of the Tulane Parents Council.
“I’m an entrepreneur myself and I’ve lived the American Dream, so I love the concept of supporting entrepreneurship,” Hart said. “At the same time, I have three children and I am very concerned about the environment and the future of our earth, so the combination of the two is a really wonderful thing to support.”
Friday, September 24th, 2010
Got an idea to improve life in New Orleans? Enter the 2010 PitchNOLA competition and you could win $5,000 to help make that idea a reality.
The Tulane Entrepreneurs Association is a co-sponsor of PitchNOLA, which will award $5,000 to the best idea to effect positive social change in New Orleans.
PitchNOLA is an elevator-pitch competition for ventures designed to effect positive social or environmental change in New Orleans. Now in its second year, the competition gives local social entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of celebrity judges and a live audience of more than 200 business professionals, social activists and community members. This year, a cash prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the entrepreneur or team of entrepreneurs with the most innovative idea, but all the participants will benefit from the opportunity to promote their ventures, get feedback on their presentations and make valuable connections with potential partners and investors.
The 2010 PitchNOLA competition will take place at on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m. in the Woldenberg Art Center’s Freeman Auditorium on Tulane University’s uptown campus. Individuals or teams interested in participating must submit a 500-word proposal online at www.seno-nola.org no later than Friday, Oct. 15, 2010. Anyone interested in attending PitchNOLA as an audience member can also reserve a seat by visiting www.seno-nola.org.
The best 10 to 15 proposals received by PitchNOLA will be invited to participate in the live competition at Tulane, and those individuals or teams will also receive coaching from Chris Schultz, founder of Voodoo Ventures and co-founder of LaunchPad, and Ralph Maurer, visiting assistant professor of management at Tulane’s A. B. Freeman School of Business.
“Over the past five years, we’ve seen a growing interest in solving societal problems through entrepreneurship,” says Andrea Chen of Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO), one of the event’s sponsors. “With PitchNOLA, we aim to bring creative, innovative minds together and connect them with supporters and resources in the community.”
Chris Williams, president of the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, adds, “Through events like PitchNOLA, we think we can encourage the growth of innovative small businesses, and those businesses are key to keeping Tulane graduates and entrepreneurs in the New Orleans area.”
PitchNOLA is sponsored by Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO), the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, Tulane Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives, the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane, and the Young Leadership Council.
For more information about the competition, visit http://www.seno-nola.org.