Innovation Enterprises Challenge offers cash prizes for novel business plans

September 21, 2010 | UToday
By Bob Mackowiak

UT students, faculty and staff who have a great, innovative business idea may win up to $10,000 to establish their business in the first Innovation Enterprises Challenge Business Plan Competition.

“The goal of Innovation Enterprises is to foster regional economic growth in alignment with the mission of UT,” according to Mary Jo Waldock, associate vice president of innovation enterprises. “What better way to pursue that goal and encourage innovative thinking than by focusing on business ideas of UT students, faculty and staff.”

“This competition reflects UT’s belief in innovative thinking and is intended to advance a creative culture of growth in all areas of the University,” she added.

Innovation Enterprises at The University of Toledo is providing prize money:

• First place: $10,000;

• Second place: $5,000

• Third place: $2,500; and 

• Honorable mention: $500.

Moreover, you might qualify for up to $50,000 in an Ignite Grant from the Regional Growth Partnership to continue the development of your innovation if it meets their guidelines.

The UT College of Business Administration is conducting the business plan competition.

“The UT College of Business Administration is committed to playing a key role in advancing the economic development in this region. Supporting entrepreneurs is an important part of that role,” said Dr. Sonny Ariss, professor and chair of the Management Department. “By judging this business plan competition and offering assistance with business functions such as accounting and marketing, the College of Business Administration can play a hands-on role in helping entrepreneurs within the UT family.”

Dr. Thomas Gutteridge, dean of the College of Business Administration, said, “This is yet another component of the college’s effort to further enhance the UT culture of entrepreneurship and innovation”

Submission information can be found at or by clicking on the “Innovation” link on

Information sessions have been scheduled to answer questions about the Innovation Enterprises Challenge, provide assistance in developing proposals for the business plan competition, and to share information about other community resources available for business funding and development.

Sessions will take place:

• Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 3 p.m. in Nitschke Hall Room 1027 (refreshments served) and

• Thursday, Sept. 23, at noon in Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement Room 3100 (pizza served).

An application workshop for those who decide to apply for the Innovation Enterprises Business Plan Competition will be held Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to noon in Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement Room 3100.

 Innovation Enterprises Challenge Business Plan Competition entries must be submitted by Monday, Oct. 11.

Semifinalists will be announced Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence Hall of Fame ceremony. Winners will be announced Thursday, Dec. 2.

Questions or comments on the competition can be directed Ariss at or Mark Fox, patent technology associate, at

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