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Contest to give student teams chance to launch a business

Laura Hirschfeld, General Engineering
(217) 244-9550; hirschfe@illinois.edu

8/25/2000

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A contest at the University of Illinois that gets under way Aug. 30 will give student teams the opportunity to compete for $20,000 in prizes by drafting a plan for developing a technological idea into a viable commercial venture.

The first annual V. Dale Cozad Business Plan Competition, named for the founder of Cozad Asset Management in Champaign, is sponsored by Peter and Kim Fox and the Fox companies in Champaign. First prize is $12,000.

The competition is aimed primarily at UI students, but anyone may be a member of a team, provided at least half the team consists of students. Winners will be chosen by a panel of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

The UI Technology Entrepreneur Center will host a kick-off reception for the competition from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 30 in the atrium of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, 405 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana.

Contest organizers will explain the rules of the competition at that time.

The commercialization of U.S. academic research was responsible for $34 billion in economic activity in 1998 and the creation of 280,000 jobs, according to a survey by the Association of University Technology Managers. Almost 80 percent of the businesses that were created located near the university doing the research.

One of the objectives of the Technology Entrepreneur Center is to promote local economic development. The center educates UI students, faculty members, staff and alumni about entrepreneurial endeavors related to technology transfer and assists them in creating businesses. The TEC offers courses for non-business majors in the essentials of entrepreneurial ventures and is assembling a team of expert mentors for budding entrepreneurs.