A $10,000 prize will be awarded to the grand-prize winner of this year’s Project Springboard Competition.
“If I won $10,000, I would give some money back to my parents because they are paying for college,” freshman finance major Frank Murray said.
Thanks to the Springboard competition, Murray, as well as any student that enters into the competition, could win $10,000 to help jump-start their business plans.
Teams of three to five undergraduates come up with an entrepreneurial business plan that they believe could be profitable. Then on Oct. 8, they send their letter of intent to compete and are officially entered into the competition.
“On Oct. 21 there will be a workshop to help the students involved figure out exactly what a business plan looks like,” Amy Doering said, who is in charge of the competition.
The final business plans are submitted on Feb. 6, and after an extensive and rigorous judging process, six finalists are chosen and on March 23 the finalists are announced.
“[University] President [Joanne] Glasser and interim Provost [Robert] Bolla really wanted to get involved so they will both be judges this year,” Doering said.
First place prize is $10,000 along with a host of must have services for business owners such as a downtown office for a year, a car for a year, insurance advice and marketing advice. Second place will receive $7,500 and third place is awarded $5,000.
The competition was started and funded by Alexis Khazzam, an entrepreneur and President of Junction Ventures.
“His idea was that since young people and entrepreneurs are the backbone of Peoria, he wanted to help them out and keep them in Peoria,” Doering said. “It’s a winning situation for the students, for Bradley and for Peoria.”
Before the competition there will be a speed networking session on Sept. 25, from noon to 2 p.m.
“I would encourage anyone interested in participating to attend,” Doering said. “There will of course be free food.”
One of the many businesses jump started by the competition is iRepair, a team of students that started out fixing iPods and expanded into fixing other electronics like Xboxes.
“Students come up with very creative and money making ideas,” Doering said. “IRepair now employs 40 people. There was also a team who wanted to make iPods for extreme sports that could respond to people’s voices so that they could listen to music while doing motocross.”
Freshman finance major Ben Sellnow said he has an idea for the competition.
“If I were in the competition I would want to give students a faster way of getting around campus,” he said. “Maybe something like a Segway, but much better.”
The opportunity for Bradley students in particular is exceptional compared to other schools, Doering said.
“The $10,000 Project Springboard gives to first place is significantly more than the seven thousand that the school in Nebraska, which was the model for this program, gives away,” she said. “It’s all about the money. These are kids who are serious about their venture and will find a way to make it profitable.”