FAU Awards $200,000 in Cash and Prizes at 2012 Business Plan Competition
BOCA RATON, FL (April 16, 2012) – Florida Atlantic University’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship and the College of Business, along with the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, recently hosted the 2012 FAU Business Plan Competition in which 21 teams comprised of FAU students, members of the business community, alumni and, for the first time, local high school students competed for a share of more than $200,000 in cash and prizes. The high school student track winner’s prize also included a full four-year scholarship to FAU.
“The competition inspires FAU students and entrepreneurs in our community, and with only three competitions under our belt, we continue to make progress toward elevating the region with more hopeful entrepreneurs using the program to vet their ideas,” said Kimberly Gramm, assistant dean and director of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship at FAU. “These are exciting times at FAU. We are the hub of the entrepreneurial eco-system.”
More than 300 guests attended the competition, which provided an opportunity for participants to compete and test their business ideas. More than 215 teams registered for the competition, up from 167 last year, while 20 advanced to the final round events. Teams submitted their plans in one of three categories: the Entrepreneur Track, which was designated for alumni and members of the business community-at-large; the Student Track, which was open to current FAU students only; and the High School track, which was open to local junior and senior high school students.
The high school track winner and four-year scholarship of the competition was Austin Tedesco for his prototype, beforeyouturnitin.com, a reliable, accurate, and affordable proofreading service for high school students. Tedesco is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
The student track winner of the competition and $15,000 in cash and prizes was FAU student Neil Parsont for his prototype Owl Educational Web Services, an online tutor-student matchmaking service. The company's business model allows direct communication between students and tutors simplifying the existing processes used by competitors which block communication.
The entrepreneur track winners of the competition and $15,000 in cash and prizes were Jose Christiansen, Mark Fredericks and David Fredericks for their prototype SwitchMyBooks.com, a website created to help students save money on their textbooks by creating a listing service where they can buy, sell and exchange their college books.
The welcome reception offered the opportunity for participating teams to meet and network with experienced venture capital principals, early-stage angel investors, successful entrepreneurs and senior business leaders. Each team presented a 90-second elevator pitch and attendees voted for their favorite idea, awarding U-Fashion the third annual People’s Choice Award and a $5,000 cash prize.
Anthony Barbar, FAU Board of Trustees vice chair, presided over the 2012 awards ceremony. FAU alumnus Manuel Medina ‘74, president and chief executive officer Medina Capital Partners, provided the keynote address. Salvatore Cavalieri provided inspirational words regarding his experience as last year’s winner in the competition.
Other attendees included Chris Barton, entrepreneur and founder of Wholesale Carrier Services, Inc.; David Bates, shareholder of Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A.; Christian Boswell, co-founder of bfw Advertising; Sean Cantwell, partner at Volition Capital; Timothy Loomer, president and chief executive officer of Campus Management Corporation; Robert Louv, founder and managing partner of Archpoint Partners Corp.; Dominique McClain Barteet, founder of OneSole; Hein Onkenhout, entrepreneur; Edgar Otto; Patricia Palmer; Bruce Rector, president of The Rector Group; David Walsh, managing partner for Kayne Anderson Capital Advisor’s; Arnold Cohen, co-founder of Mahoney Cohen & Company, CPA, P.C.; Andrew Duffell, president of the Research Park at FAU; Richard Yules, business consultant; Bob White, shareholder of Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A.; Rhys Williams, president and co-founder of New World Angels, Inc.
A total of 55 volunteer judges and 20 event volunteers assisted in the successful implementation of the event. Community partnerships enable the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship to continue its support for entrepreneurial programs and early stage companies. Sponsors for the 2012 competition include Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, Enterprise Florida Inc., National Communications, MoreVisibility, Gunster, RedLetter, 3Cinteractive, Gold Coast Venture Capital Association, Office Depot, Business Growth Advisors, Silver Sponsors, Office Edge, Owl Tutoring, FPL Energy Services, SBA Communications, The Rector Group, Domain Holdings Group, The Chester Foundation, Arnold & Barbara D Cohen, The 22Hundred Group, Daszkal Bolton, NCCI Holdings, Inc., New World Angels, VPLENISH, and Comerica Bank.
For more information, contact Jennie Taylor at 561-297-0927 or visit business.fau.edu/bpc.
-FAU-Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.