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NVC 2014 is in the books!

Every spring for the past 23 years the University of Oregon has hosted a business plan competition. What started with just a few teams from within Oregon has evolved to be an international event with teams competing from all around the world! The New Venture Championship (NVC) is held in Portland, Oregon, giving global student teams a chance to visit the beautiful Pacific Northwest. This year NVC teams came from across the United States, Thailand, Hong Kong, and India.

There are several different competitions within the business plan championship including Best Written Business Plan, Best Elevator Pitch, Trade Show Exhibition, and the overall championship. All 16 competing teams left the competition with cash to help them pursue the launch of their business. With over $55,000 awarded under three days each day and event proved to be very exciting and competitive.

NVC 2014 was a wonderful success and as a first-time attendee I was truly inspired by the business plans and teams that competed. The collaborative nature of these teams meant students of business, law, and the sciences were well represented giving a very well rounded turnout.

Additionally, the judges that volunteered their time, energy, and resources proved to be invaluable! Each team had interactions with several judging panels, each of which provided insightful feedback. These judges range in expertise and industry, but represent some of the brightest minds in business and otherwise in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of judges year after year!

Though I will be graduated, I will make every effort to attend this event next year. Not only are the businesses quite impressive, but the students are engaging and the atmosphere is electric! I strongly encourage those interested in business and entrepreneurship to attend NVC and competitions like it!

Final results from NVC 2014 can be found here! Also, please visit NVC’s YouTube channel to see Elevator Pitches and more from this year’s competition!

Here are some highlights from NVC 2014:

Team RediGen from Thailand took home the grand prize of $25,000

 

An NVC competitor competing in the 60 second elevator pitch competition on Thursday night.

 

Friday night bowling: Team members from Chiron Medical, CYANO Solutions, LifeM, and uHoo

Written by lloepp

Lauren is an MBA Candidate in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. She is a native Oregonian who came to the Oregon MBA after receiving a BS in Psychology from Linfield College and working in business development at an Oregon Research and Development company. She plans to work with businesses in organizational behavior and culture to manage organizational change.

“9 plus 1” Format Encourages Experiential Learning

The University of Oregon MBA program implemented the “9 plus 1” format for the Winter 2014 academic term. In an effort to add more experiential learning to our curriculum one week of the term is dedicated to Center-specific trips that expose students to the “real world”, as we like to say. During that one week we travel with our Center, in my case Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and meet with some incredible companies and executives. Not only do we gain access to some of the world’s most notable businesses, but we are hosted by the brightest and most inspiring of business men and women.

Typical Seattle morning in January

Typical Seattle morning in January

This winter I traveled with first and second year MBA students, program managers, and faculty from the Center for Sustainable Business Practices, Finances and Securities Analysis Center, and the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship to the beautiful Seattle, Washington!

We had the opportunity to visit with a diverse group of businesses and organizations, including world renowned environmental activist Denis Hayes of the Bullitt Foundation, prominent Pacific NW Venture Capital firm Voyager Capital, and specialists in treasury, sustainability, and venture capital at industry giant Microsoft!

The “9 plus 1” format has created an opportunity for students to gain incredible access to companies and individuals who inspire and encourage us in our business pursuits, both academic and professional. At the same time, the format allows students the freedom to travel without missing class, allowing us to focus on the trip entirely. Additionally, we are not missing out on academic curriculum as our classes in the 9 weeks are extended to ensure all academic curriculum is still covered.

Personally, these experiential learning trips have transformed my experience at the University of Oregon and has exposed me to industries and potential career opportunities that I had previously been unaware or ambivalent about. I look forward to our Bay Area trip in April and hearing from classmates who were visiting New York City concurrent with our Seattle trip!

Meeting with Denis Hayes on the top floor of the Most Sustainable Building in the world (Bullitt Center)

Meeting with Denis Hayes on the top floor of the Most Sustainable Building in the world (Bullitt Center)

Go Ducks!

Written by lloepp

Lauren is an MBA Candidate in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. She is a native Oregonian who came to the Oregon MBA after receiving a BS in Psychology from Linfield College and working in business development at an Oregon Research and Development company. She plans to work with businesses in organizational behavior and culture to manage organizational change.

Team Nemies takes 2014 by storm

Originating out of the summer 2013 Technology Entrepreneurship Program (TEP), Team Nemies has worked in collaboration with the original researchers at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) as they continue their quest to build Nemies into a real company. After months of research, testing, and business plan writing Nemies found great success winning the Elevator Pitch competition and Venture Quest competition in December 2013! 

From Left: Alex Hankins (JD), Lindsey Arkfeld (MBA), Derek Schloss (JD/MBA),

From Left: Alex Hankins (JD), Lindsey Arkfeld (MBA), Derek Schloss (JD/MBA),

Every year roughly two million kindergartners across the United States struggle with learning how to read. We’re the Nemies team, and we’re hoping to solve that problem.

Nemies is a cutting-edge education app developed for the iPad by some of the best and brightest researchers in speech and language learning. The app helps children learn phonemes—the building blocks of reading and writing. The app’s software tracks the progress of the children who use it in order to adapt and tailor its lessons to appropriately challenge students, all while gathering valuable data that can be applied by parents and professionals.

Our team – Lindsey Arkfeld (MBA), Derek Schloss (JD/MBA), and Alec Hankins (JD)— had the opportunity to pitch the app’s business plan at this year’s Venture Quest competition. We built on the idea from this summer’s Technology Entrepreneurship Program, and further defined the business model in New Venture Planning. Our team placed first in the overall competition, and also won first place awards in two elevator pitch categories. We plan to take our business plan through the Venture Launch Pathway, and will compete next in the Mai Thailand Bangkok Challenge.

Participating in the Venture Quest competition provided us the opportunity to showcase our research from the term and communicate a clear picture of the business plan to a panel of judges from the business community. We gained tremendous momentum and positive feedback from the judges, along with suggestions on areas of improvement. Testing the idea and defending the plan under live-fire conditions required us to fully understand the business model and identify gaps we might still be lacking.

Venture Quest also allowed us to celebrate the progress of the other teams and see how far our class had come in refining our respective ideas. We thoroughly enjoyed the competition and want to thank all the advisers, faculty, and other teams for their support!

 

Written by lloepp

Lauren is an MBA Candidate in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. She is a native Oregonian who came to the Oregon MBA after receiving a BS in Psychology from Linfield College and working in business development at an Oregon Research and Development company. She plans to work with businesses in organizational behavior and culture to manage organizational change.

New Venture Planning

Each fall LCE Program Manager, Nathan Lillegard, teaches an exciting course for 2nd year MBA, law, and science students. In this course student teams create a business model and plan with potential for carrying it forward into the winter and spring terms onto the competition circuit. In the past few years, student teams have traveled the country and the world competing against some of the best young talent in business. Here are a few of the competitions Oregon MBA students have competed in recently:

                                                

                              

OMBA student teams have placed well in these competitions, including taking home Grand Prize ($10,000) in the 2012 Mai Bangkok Business Challenge (Corrosion Solutions).

This year’s New Venture Planning class has a diverse class of businesses focused on providing solutions in areas such as pharmaceuticals, manufactured home units, educational software, and even robotics. With the deadline for the University of Oregon’s Venture Quest competition coming near, we are close to seeing what this new class of entrepreneurs has to offer!

 

 

 

Written by lloepp

Lauren is an MBA Candidate in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. She is a native Oregonian who came to the Oregon MBA after receiving a BS in Psychology from Linfield College and working in business development at an Oregon Research and Development company. She plans to work with businesses in organizational behavior and culture to manage organizational change.

LCE Trip to Portland!

Another year has begun here at the University of Oregon and with it comes a new cohort of MBA students. In an effort to initiate our students into the throes of the business world, the class of 2015 spent a day in Portland meeting with industry professionals. Our students have highlighted their experiences in PDX, the accelerators they visited, and the people they met.

Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) – Rick Turoczy

The insight I gained into how start-ups work, from the beginning phases of an idea to a full-fledged company, was not something I could have grasped sitting in a classroom. Rick Turoczy, co-founder of Wieden+Kennedy’s Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE), was able to deliver a clear message about the purpose of incubators and how they fit into the business landscape. The rising importance of Portland as a hub for entrepreneurs was shown to me in real time. The visit to PIE really clarified some of the concepts that are hard to comprehend just from reading books about start-ups. Watching the very laid-back atmosphere, combined with the passion and concentration of those hard at work within PIE, really excited me about the future I might have after finishing my MBA at Oregon.

 Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI)/Oregon Bioscience Incubator (OBI) – Jennifer Fox

The Oregon Bioscience Incubator (OBI) fills a very specific niche in the entrepreneurial landscape.  The visit provided many insights, since it was not focused on beginning computer tech companies but rather something more capital intensive–biotech.  I was able to see that even high initial capital ventures are still able to get a foot hold by sharing resources.  Jen was a very interesting tour guide and was very knowledgeable about all aspects of what OBI was set to accomplish.  She had the science background and could be sympathetic to the needs of the scientists but also the business sense to keep her program running.  Also, it will be fun to see how this fairly new venture handles their own growth.  Since the bio-science field has such a longer timeline, they have to adapt routinely to work out what works best for their industry.  The visit was memorable because their facilities are new and we were able to see into a lab, which many of us are not privy to.  Overall, the visit exposed us to a different aspect of the entrepreneurial landscape.

Portland Seed Fund – Jim Huston      

We met with the managing director of Portland Seed Fund, Jim Huston, in his upscale business suite with an awesome view of downtown.  He briefly described his history in venture capital and gave us a terrific summary of what has been happening in that area of investment in recent years.   He explained some of the challenges facing a venture capitalist who wants to fund start-ups.  For instance, because many transaction costs are fixed, it’s often easier to invest 30 million once than 30 thousand several times.  The Fund occupies a unique position within the Portland funding landscape, between capital raised by friends and family and a start-up’s first seed round.  The Seed Fund has a portfolio containing thirty-six local start-ups in varying stages of growth and is doing some incredibly interesting work.

 Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) – Executive Director – Mitch Daugherty

The whirlwind day continued as we walked into Caffè Umbria in downtown Portland, unfortunately, a little late.  Mitch Daugherty, the chairman of the board of directors for the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN), sat at a table barely big enough for two.  We were seven in total.  Through cunning and possibly some thievery, we were able to “acquire” enough chairs for everyone.  With all settled in and our gracious leader attending to our caffeine addictions, Mitch began his explanation of OEN.  As he explained the purpose of OEN, I began to realize what would become the overarching theme of the day: the Portland community loves start-ups.  But not only does Portland love start-ups, they want each one to succeed.  Mitch, among many others throughout Portland, puts in numerous unpaid hours to mentor and support the dreamers and the determined that make up the city’s start-up ecosystem.  Through OEN, start-ups are able to make the connections within the business community that are vital to their future success.  These connections run the gamut from other entrepreneurs to mentors to investors.  Unfortunately, our time with Daugherty came to an end.  Thirty minutes was nowhere near enough time to learn everything OEN has to offer a budding new company, but the whirlwind was not over.

 

Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) – Skip Newberry

My visit to the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) highlighted what truly sets Portland apart from start-up communities like those in Seattle or the Bay Area. Not only is the program supported by the state and city, which showcases Oregon’s commitment to its small businesses, but Skip – the TAO representative who spoke to us – personally knew all of the other members of the community who worked with start-ups at various levels. This is an example of how Portland’s entrepreneurial segment isn’t just a collection of individuals, but a tightly knit community dedicated to helping its members achieve.

 

Starve Ups/Journey Gym – John Fries

 Our last stop on the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship-Portland Adventure was twofold; part one was with Starve Ups, a nonprofit designed to facilitate new business ventures spearheaded by Portland-based entrepreneurs.  Part two was with Journey Gym, a two-year-old company that markets its product as “the world’s first truly portable universal gym.”  The connection between these two organizations was that the owner of Journey Gym was also a co-founder of Starve Ups. The world of idealistic and fantasized business plans possesses a hefty amount of uncertainty, financial risk, and self-doubt for the entrepreneur.  Starve Ups was the manifested creation of just such a conglomeration of weary entrepreneurs, seeking more than just automated, one-size-fits-all directions, but looking instead for honest business guidance, peer mentoring, and moral support.  Seated facing inwards in a circle in the middle of Journey Gym’s workout room, before asking my questions to such an experienced panel, I almost felt compelled to first introduce myself, and that I was an entrepreneur-oholic.  In essence, Starve Ups was the Entrepreneurs Anonymous support group meeting…figurative coffee and doughnuts included. But instead of steering new business owners away from their longed-for dreams, this support group’s mission was to help incubate, foster, and best of all, accelerate the growth of each new venture, whether it be in the field of technology, commodities, or some altogether new-aged service; Starve Ups was “industry blind.”  For me–an MBA student in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship track– it was motivating and informative to simultaneously see how an incubator like Starve Ups works along with an example of its product, Journey Gym.  Returning to the van for the drive back to Eugene, I felt more informed about venture capital, Portland start-up facilitators, and other Oregon-based entrepreneurship resources.  However, most of all, I returned to campus feeling energized.  “Hi everyone.  My name is Ty, and I am an entrepreneur.”

 

Written by lloepp

Lauren is an MBA Candidate in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. She is a native Oregonian who came to the Oregon MBA after receiving a BS in Psychology from Linfield College and working in business development at an Oregon Research and Development company. She plans to work with businesses in organizational behavior and culture to manage organizational change.

Bend Venture Conference

Going to the Bend Venture Conference as a first-year MBA was an incredible opportunity. Watching real startup companies pitch real ideas to investors definitely solidifies the experiential learning that the Lundquist College of Business is known for. The most advantageous part, though, was getting to network with some of the most prestigious people in the entrepreneurship world, like keynote speaker Steve Blank. It was truly an incredible experience, and I will definitely go again next year. (Omar Ellis, Class of 2015)

Congratulations to BVC 2013 winners Nouvola! Past winners of BVC include Sonivate Medical (2012), RES Enquine (2011), Manzama (2010), Jama (2008) and Elemental (2007).

 

In addition to the Bend Venture Conference, first- and second-year Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship students had an incredible opportunity to meet and network with University of Oregon alums from the Bend area. As we begin our professional careers it is so important to gain experience in speaking with other professionals and learning from them. A big thank you to the office of development and external relations for allowing us to be a part of this event.

 

 

Written by lloepp

Lauren is an MBA Candidate in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. She is a native Oregonian who came to the Oregon MBA after receiving a BS in Psychology from Linfield College and working in business development at an Oregon Research and Development company. She plans to work with businesses in organizational behavior and culture to manage organizational change.