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Hands-On Business Planning Challenge

Center for Entrepreneurship's Business Plan Competition Open to All Majors

Jan. 10, 2013

Cal State Fullerton students — whether they are art, business, science or humanities majors — are urged to put their entrepreneurial skills to the test and enter the Center for Entrepreneurship's 2013 Business Plan Competition.

More than $50,000 in cash, prizes and in-kind services are available to winners in the program, said John Bradley Jackson, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

"The purpose of the Business Plan Competition is to encourage teams to develop a viable business concept, to evaluate its appropriateness and potential success in the market and to identify critical issues to resolve when evaluating the feasibility of the business concept," said Jackson. "It's a practical test of a student's entrepreneurial desire, a strong learning experience and an invaluable introduction to what it takes to make that dream into a reality.

"And because its not just business students who want to begin their own businesses, we have opened the competition to students from all Cal State Fullerton's colleges, including those who are not currently in the entrepreneurship curriculum," he noted. "No prior business plan writing experience is required."

This is the second year that the competition has been held. Last year, more than 140 entries were submitted and three winners were named. "Tank Skinz, which makes colorful 'skins' to disguise unattractive water heaters, took first place and $3,000 in cash and $5,000 in services," said Jackson. The second-place winner was Astral Infiniti, creator of the patent for a solar-powered, unmanned air vehicle; third place went to SP ZAP, a form-processing solution for businesses.

"This is hard work, but the benefits — if a student or team is serious — are invaluable," said Jackson.

To help students who are new to developing a business concept, the Center for Entrepreneurship has scheduled boot camps on Jan. 18, Jan. 28 and Feb. 6. "These programs offer students guidelines to developing a concept. From concept, to trial and the writing of the plan, we offer exercises in which they can expand on the direction of their proposed business and solidify what they hope to do and achieve. In addition to the boot camps, teams also can seek advice from the center's team of mentors every step of the way, he added.

Applications will be accepted from Jan. 28 through Feb. 15. Semifinal presentations will be made April 10; finalists compete April 17.

"Winning teams are free to use the prize money in any way that they wish, whether or not they choose to start their new business," said Jackson. "However we do encourage winners to use the prize money toward further development of their business concept or plans, or the creation of a business venture."

Competition sponsors are: State Farm, Anderson & Knuf LLP, College Web Media, Crexendo Inc., the law office of Craig McLaughlin, LegalZoom, Opus Productivity Solutions, Plural Eyes Media and Prosperitech.

For more information, go to the Center for Entrepreneurship website.

By: Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852

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