Winners Announced in the 2012 Business Concept Competitio​ns

The Fourth Annual VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Challenge was a great success as enthusiastic attendees gathered at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center on April 11, 2012.  The Entrepreneurship Challenge provided a unique opportunity for student teams from Virginia Tech as well as entrepreneurs from the New River and Roanoke valleys to present before a panel of local business leaders. 

The Challenge began with a keynote address by Tom Weithman, Vice President and Managing Director of CIT GAP Funds, about the entrepreneurship climate in 2012.  During a lunch buffet, attendees listened as Mike Drzal, Shareholder of LeClairRyan, spoke about raising capital.

The winning concept in the Student Business Concept Competition was YouFolio, a company that offers an expedient way to publish one’s best works online and become indexed by major search engines.  Team members Matthew Moore and Kayvon Nikbakhshian won $10,000 in scholarships plus summer workspace at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.  AcMo Technologies, ECLIPSE, GreenStar, and HALO also competed for the grand prize.

The winning student team will also advance to the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Business Concept Challenge and compete for the $25,000 grand prize on August 23, 2012, at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, Virginia.  The Global Student Challenge is part of the VT Knowledge Works Global Partnership Week, which offers university students, faculty, and business professionals from all over the world a chance to collaborate, form partnerships and interact on a completely unique and exciting level.

The winning concept in the Open Business Concept Competition was Universities Inc., a company which is creating a national brokerage house for traditional non-profit accredited online courses.  Kim Griffo and Wes Adams won $5,000 in start-up services from VT KnowledgeWorks plus workspace for one year at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.  Other teams that competed for the grand prize were Cloud Conservatory, Dive Into Research, Feel. Think. Choose., and Out of the Box – Informed Choice: College Snapshot.

“Congratulations to our two deserving winners.  They have bright future prospects.  But, just as important, the competition was outstanding.  According to our judges, and based on follow-up inquiries by local investors and entrepreneurs, we have possibly identified as many as seven or eight viable startups for our region.  2012 is indeed the year of the entrepreneur here in Virginia.”
– Jim Flowers, Executive Director, VT KnowledgeWorks

The event sponsors for the Fourth Annual Entrepreneurship Challenge included CIT GAP Funds and LeClairRyan.

See video clips from the VTKW Entrepreneurship Challenge 2012 live streaming channel.

See all posts about the Entrepreneurship Challenge on Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.

VT KnowledgeWorksVT 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.

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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).

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