This coming Monday, 16 teams of entrepreneurs from local universities will have the opportunity to present their plans for start-up businesses in the final round of the University of Washington’s Business Plan Competition. A majority of the finalists this year are internet start-ups. The contest offers a $25,000 cash prize to the winners, with over $60,000 in other prizes and awards.
Each team will have the opportunity to make a 45-minute presentation to a board of judges that will be made up of a prominent group of individuals from Seattle’s internet industry. After eliminating 12 of the teams, a panel of eight “master entrepreneur” judges will choose among the four finalists. Local dotcom achievers such as HomeGrocer.com’s Terry Drayton and Visio/Microsoft’s Jeremy Jaech will be among those making the final decision.
For young entrepreneurs such as Robert Khoo, a Senior at the University of Washington’s business school, the contest provides a great opportunity to market ideas. Khoo is the interim CEO of Dealitup.com, a recently-launched internet portal which consolidates online coupons and deals, linking consumers directly to merchants. While the Dealitup.com team is unsure whether or not their business will win on Monday, they are excited about the opportunity that the contest has afforded them. “Already the advice we’ve gotten has given us a lot of direction,” says the young CEO. “Even if we don’t win, the contest has helped our business with advice, contacts and experience.”