An Asper School of Business student competition with a track record for helping launch multimillion dollar ventures will begin the evening with a reception for teams, judges, faculty, university administration and the event’s namesake, Stu Clark.
Twenty-four teams from the world’s best business schools including the Asper School are in Winnipeg to compete for the Stuart Clark Venture Challenge title and more than $40,000 in cash and prizes, and the right to open the NASDAQ exchange. A first-place win also guarantees the team’s entry into the prestigious “Super Bowl of Business Planning,” the MOOT Corp Global Competition at the University of Texas at Austin.
Teams will be pitching new ventures ranging from a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants in Poland to a treatment for macular degenerative disease. Tonight’s reception and segments of the competition will be filmed by one of the event sponsors, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
The Stuart Clark Venture Challenge has become the largest graduate level business plan competition in Canada in terms of number of teams. This year, five of the top 50 universities in the world including MIT, Brown University and Babson College will be competing for the title and the greatest prize package of any such competition in Canada. New, independent ventures in the seed, start-up or early growth stages are presented by student teams. The competition begins tonight with the WOW! Hospitality Elevator Pitch Competition and the Silver Jeans Tradeshow Competition. Tonight’s reception is also sponsored by The Associates, a group of more than 250 prominent business leaders who support the Asper School of Business at the university.
The Asper School of Business brings its own track record to the Stuart Clark Venture Challenge. It is the only Canadian school to consistently send a team to MOOT Corp Global based on winning one or more competitions in the U.S. and it is the first Canadian school to ever have two teams invited to compete at MOOT Corp Global with this year’s Altave and Purus. Both teams have earned the special invite at recent international business competitions.
The Stuart Clark Venture Challenge is more than an academic exercise as the products and services presented are real and the teams presenting them are serious about launching their venture. Previous winner, Anson Innovations, from the Loyola Marymount University, CA, presented a product called the Asthma Sound Indicator. Past winners have also included business plans for a new drug that in animal trials had cured a form of brain cancer; SanoGene Therapeutics Inc. has since gone on to raise substantial investment and has been featured in The New York Times and on CNN. In all, teams attending the competition have gone on to launch ventures that have raised over $20 million in financing.
Tonight, greetings will be given starting at 6:45 p.m. by Robert Warren, I.H. Asper Executive Director for Entrepreneurship at the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship; Asper School of Business Dean Dr. Glenn Feltham; and University of Manitoba Vice-President (External) Elaine Goldie. The elevator pitch and the tradeshow competition will follow.
The finals will take place on Saturday afternoon finals will be held, judged by a five-member panel, including Guy Bieber, National Bank of Canada, Rick Klimczak, BDC, Jordan Saxe from NASDAQ, and primary competition sponsor Stu Clark. Prizes will then be awarded.
The competition would not be possible without the support of entrepreneur Stu Clark, a University of Manitoba Commerce graduate who went on to major success in the oil and gas industry.
Stuart Clark Venture Challenge events open to public and media are:
- Welcoming remarks and greetings: tonight, starting at 6:00 p.m.
- Elevator pitch competition: tonight from 7:15 to 9:30 p.m.
- Final rounds: Saturday, April 4, 2009, from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Media are invited to attend. The reception and competition will take place at The Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg, 222 Broadway.
For more information please contact the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship, Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba: Chiara Steffenini, Program Coordinator: (204) 474-8635 Robert Warren, Director, cell: (204) 292-8092, office: (204) 474-8422, or email Robert_Warren@UManitoba.ca.
More information is at www.umanitoba.ca/entrepreneur.