The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Mississippi is launching a new program this fall with its first Fall Business Model Competition that is open to all Ole Miss students.
“Our objective is to get students excited about thinking and starting new businesses at Ole Miss and throughout the community, state and country,” said Richard Gentry, director of the university’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The competition focuses on turning an idea into a compelling business model. A business model describes how a company creates value for its customers and itself.
Participants enter by category. The first category is an open track for all business, product and service ideas. The second division is a social track in which any ideas can be submitted as long as they are “more focused on solving social problems using business tools,” Gentry said. The overall business model winner gets an iPad Pro.
The social track tackles health and obesity in Mississippi this year. Participants addressing the state’s health and obesity issues will have an opportunity to compete in the Blueprint Mississippi Social Venture Challenge, a statewide competition in Jackson that is sponsored by the governor’s office.
Competitors who make it to the semifinal group will participate in a workshop to learn the Lean Start-Up methodology and get feedback and guidance to refine their business models.
The finalists will be mentored by staff members of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as community volunteers. This is designed to help finalists perfect their business models and pitches.
Finalists will pitch their business models to the judges Nov. 13 in Conner Hall, Room 112. The public is welcome to attend the finals event.
“Not only do contestants get a valuable opportunity to practice their presentation skills, always a top 10-need for recruiters, (but) they will learn a valuable skill in business planning that is used in the corporate setting as well as the entrepreneurial world,” Gentry said.
Anyone interested in competing can visit http://bit.ly/cie-bizmodel to submit a 300-word description of his or her idea by midnight on October 18, 2015. Instructions for the competition can be found under sponsored events at http://www.olemissbusiness.com/cie.