Aspiring entrepreneurs interested in winning part of $50,000 in prize money in the fifth annual Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge at the University of Northern Colorado have one month left to prepare their entries.
Applications are due on Friday, Nov. 8, and can be submitted at www.mcb-echallenge.com.
The competition is open to Colorado-based start-up ventures or businesses that have begun business development, market research and product development but have not received payment for the sale of products or services.
The first-place winner will receive $25,000, second-place $15,000, and the third-place prize is $10,000. In addition, winners will receive business incubator services from UNC BizHub, the new business incubator at the university.
Preliminary Challenge semi-finalists will be notified by Nov. 22 and will present their business concept to a panel of experts Jan. 15 at UNC's Loveland Center at Centerra, located at 2915 Rocky Mountain Ave.
Five finalists will then be invited to present their business plan in a Shark Tank format during the Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge on Tuesday, March 25, and winners will be announced during the Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards, a Northern Colorado Business Report event sponsored by the Monfort College of Business.
"This competition encourages anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit to take that first step toward their dream of starting their own company," said David Thomas, assistant professor of management and director of the Entrepreneurial Challenge. "Our previous winners have gone on to much success, including Panda Bicycles, which has been featured on the Discovery Channel and Firstline Safety Trailers (now Nomadic) who received a large order from Halliburton."
Winners of the fourth annual Entrepreneurial Challenge were Vertikle Enterprises LLC/5280 Prosthetics, a company that will improve the lives of amputees through a new generation of products; Grouse Malting and Roasting Company, which produces organic, gluten-free grains for brewing and baking; and WildFit Gyms, an outdoor fitness equipment concept featuring website and mobile app integration.
"The cash prize did wonders for the cash flow of our company, and the experience and knowledge gained from the competition was extremely valuable," said Twila Henley, second-place winner and founder of Grouse Malting and Roasting Company. "I was introduced to my partner and investor during the competition, as well as a handful of other individuals who have been very influential. I would absolutely recommend this competition to anyone interested in starting a company."
Grouse Malting and Roasting Company has doubled its production capacity since winning the competition in March and expects to increase production by another 200 percent in the near future.
Bedside Solutions LLC placed first in the third annual Entrepreneurial Challenge
"We used the award money to focus on marketing for our product and secured a booth at the Critical Care Nurses Association Meeting and Trade Show in Orlando last May," co-founder Jamie Alexander said. "This provided us with a lot of leads, feedback and great contacts, resulting in inquiries from as far away as Iceland and Japan. Going through the competition also forced us to refine our plan and really focus on what was important. It was a great experience."
About the Monfort College of Business
The Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business at the University of Northern Colorado is recognized for delivering excellence in business education. It is the first and only business program to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from the Office of the President of the United States (2004). The college has been accredited by AACSB International for 20 years—the "gold standard" for accreditation. The College is one of an elite few worldwide that are accredited in both business administration and accounting. Over 10 successive years Monfort's graduating seniors have scored in the top 4 to 10 percent on nationwide standardized exit exams. For more information, visit Monfort's website at http://mcb.unco.edu.