Thursday August 30, 2012

Start-ups Invited

The 2012-13 Business Plan Competition launches Sept. 7 with an information session.

The University of Dayton's 2012-13 Business Plan Competition is offering nearly $175,000 in total support to help entrepreneurs turn great ideas into real businesses.

The competition will hold its first information session 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, in O'Leary Auditorium in Miriam Hall on the University of Dayton campus. The competition is open to all types of business plans, including nonprofit ventures. High-tech companies are especially encouraged, and anyone can enter. 

There is no cost, and every entry receives a free one-year subscription to Palo Alto Software's cloud-based business planning software, valued at $250. The competition's simple one-page online entry form is available at the competition website starting Sept. 8 and closes Oct. 13.

Because successful start-ups often must navigate legal issues, for the first time finalists will receive up to 25 hours of free legal assistance worth nearly $20,000, through a new partnership with the University's School of Law.

"Start-ups often face daunting legal issues ranging from incorporation, how to do patent searches, filing for patents and protecting intellectual property," said Diane Sullivan, associate professor of management and competition coordinator. "The School of Law's clinic will bring students, faculty and outside experts to assist with these and other legal issues."

The competition is aimed at helping start-ups get to the next level of growth by offering expert advice on building a viable plan for launching or growing an innovative business.

A total of $80,000 in cash prizes, awarded across three stages of the competition, includes $25,000 for the best business plan. Each of the five finalists will win a minimum of $5,000. The top three finalists also earn an opportunity to pitch the Connor Foundation Seed Fund for up to $50,000 in additional loans. Winners are announced in April.

The entries must be original work, involve a start-up company and mesh with the University of Dayton's values. Competition rules require that final-round entries must involve either a University of Dayton student or graduate. 

The Business Plan Competition was recently recognized as one of the 15 largest college business plan competitions by Under30CEO, a news and trend media site for young entrepreneurs.

"We offer early-stage companies a level of support very few business plan competitions in the nation can duplicate," said Dean McFarlin, chair of the management and marketing department. "The University of Dayton Business Plan Competition provides an outstanding experience for our students and helps new ventures jumpstart their futures, contributing to economic development in the Dayton region and beyond."

The University of Dayton is recognized nationally for its innovative programs for student entrepreneurs. The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine ranked the entrepreneurship program as one of the top-20 programs in the nation the past seven years.

All sophomore entrepreneurship majors are given $5,000 loans from the Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership to start their own businesses. Flyer Angels gives undergraduates hands-on experience in investing in new businesses.

For more information on the competition visit or contact Diane Sullivan at

Contact Diane Sullivan at