The 4th Annual VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Challengewill be held on April 11, 2012 in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. The deadline for registering for both the Student Competition and the Open Competition is midnight, Friday, February 10, 2012.
I joined VT KnowledgeWorks in 2008 as an individual. At the time, VT KnowledgeWorks was called an "incubator," a term too limiting to describe both starting and growing a company, so it's now more aptly named an "acceleration center." However, my company, Handshake Media, Incorporated, was truly born at VT KnowledgeWorks and will celebrate its 4th year of membership in July, 2012.
Passionate by nature and eager to take full advantage of all that VT KnowledgeWorks offered – to reduce the risk of my small company failing and to increase its potential for growth - for the first three years, I participated in every single program and event at VT KnowledgeWorks.
I have found one of the hardest parts of this entrepreneurial life to be that, having achieved mastery in another field in another life, I have entered a new field in which I am a novice. Trial-and-error learning is to be expected in any new endeavor, from dribbling a basketball to scaling an enterprise. I find the error part of this second go-round very painful. The greater the knowledge I had in my former field, the fewer errors I made. I will make fewer errors as I learn this field. But now? Ooh, they smart.
I, unapologetically, take work personally. My experience with the Entrepreneurship Challenge is, therefore, personal. I applied to present at the first Entrepreneurship Challenge and wasn't accepted. That smarted. I applied and was accepted to present at the second Entrepreneurship Challenge. At the end of my pitch, one of the angel investors on the panel had his head in his hands. That smarted. Still feeling terrible about that experience, I missed my first VTKW event and didn't apply to the third Entrepreneurship Challenge.
In addition to submitting an intent to compete and a registration fee, entrants must submit a one-page summary of their business concepts. (Here's the .pdf of the guidelines for the Open Competition.)
Did I think about applying to the third Entrepreneurship Challenge? Yes, I did. As I had each year before, I wrote a one-page summary – this time for myself - in response to the application's prompts:
1. Please state the business concept title and all team member name(s)
2. Explain the product or service
3. Underlying technology
4. Uniqueness and/or innovation of the concept
5. Initial Customer Base for the product or service
6. Customer need met by the product or service
7. Estimate of the market size for the product or service
The deadline to enter 4th Annual VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Challenge is tomorrow at midnight.
I am thinking of applying.
Why would I apply again? The prizes are VT KnowledgeWorks services, which I consider invaluable and of which, therefore, I have already partaken. So it's not the prizes.
It's the audience. Who's in the audience at the VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Challenge? According to the information page, it's "individuals interested in investing in early-stage companies." But I've been. I know. The panelists and members of the audience are angel investors whose funds and guidance could turn ideas for companies – my idea among them – into real companies.
I have found writing a yearly one-page summary deepens my understanding of my company and helps me see new ideas for its growth. The deadline for registering for both the Student Competition and the Open Competition is tomorrow at midnight…
See you at the 4th Annual VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Challenge, one way – or another.
Thanks to its sponsors, the 4th Annual VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Challenge will be held on April 11, 2012 in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. The Entrepreneurship Challenge is open to student entrepreneurs, technology entrepreneurs, attendees and program advertisers. The Challenge will feature two business concept competitions, the Virginia Tech Student Business Concept Competition and the Open Competition.
Please see more about the Fourth Annual VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Challenge.
VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation, funded through the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.
VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, The Branch Group, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law Group, LeClairRyan, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).