AUSTIN, Texas—In the film industry, it’s the Academy Awards. In racing, it’s the Grand Prix. And in college business plan contests, it’s the annual Global MOOT CORP® competition at The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business.
Armed with business plans that have won honors in regional competitions, thirty business school teams from top-ranked universities around the globe will converge on Austin next week to vie for a total of $115,000 in prizes and a chance to catch the eye of interested investors.
This year’s competition runs from April 30-May 3 and includes an opening round on the first day in which all thirty teams compete. The five finalists that are chosen then compete for the grand prize, a $100,000 early-stage bridge loan. Teams not chosen as finalists are able to compete in the Money Rounds for smaller prizes.
The Global MOOT CORP® competition, which has been dubbed the Super Bowl of business plan competitions by BusinessWeek magazine, represents an auspicious convergence of preparation and opportunity.
The best and brightest MBA student entrepreneurs bring meticulously researched business plans and present them to judges who are successful venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and financial services providers. Even if their team does not win, students are given an invaluable opportunity to refine their presentation skills and obtain feedback from seasoned investors.
“This competition is very, very important to our team and our school,” says Nathasorn Boontanorm, a competitor from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. “We see it as irreplaceable real-life practice in the theories that we have learned in class. We’ve been looking forward to having a chance at the Austin competition for many years.”
The Chulalongkorn team will be pitching a product called Periocure. Made with extract from an herb grown only in Asia, PerioCure is an affordable substitute for antibiotics used in the treatment of periodontal disease. According to research, it has been shown to be 100% effective and caused no side effects in clinical trials.
Other participants in this year’s global competition include teams from the Wharton School of Business, Oxford University, Babson College, University of Michigan, London Business School, Bond University and Carnegie Mellon.
Their business proposals run the gamut from a process that transforms manure into electricity to educational services that target ethnic communities in California. Although the business plans from this year’s entrants are an eclectic selection, several of the products and services focus on eco-friendly, clean energy solutions as well as technology advances that would benefit the healthcare field.
According to Dr. Gary Cadenhead, director of the MOOT CORP® program, all of the plans represent much more than classroom exercises—they are built around viable products and services that can be taken to the marketplace.
“The value for the competing teams is in how well this process simulates the real-life challenge of soliciting start-up funds from investors,” says Cadenhead. “If these students get financial backing, they can go out and actually launch their venture.”
Founded in 1984 by two enterprising University of Texas MBA students, the MOOT CORP® competition is the first and longest-operating, intercollegiate, new-venture competition in the world. The prestigious event woos judges from institutions such as the NASDAQ Stock Market, Ernst and Young and Inc. magazine. Approximately half of each year’s entering teams launch their ventures after the competition. Recent winners include Private Concepts, now in FDA trials for a revolutionary cervical cancer test, and Isochron Data, a wireless monitoring venture successfully launched and sold to private investors in 2002.
NOTE: Description of the 2002 MOOT CORP winners from The University of Texas at Austin is available below.