Cornell University located in Ithaca, NY, hosts the annual Business Idea Competition (BIC), sponsored by the Big Red Venture Fund at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.
The BR Ventures Business Idea Competition provides a way for Cornell-affiliated individuals and current students and faculty at other universities to take their first step toward turning an idea into a viable business.
Up for grabs each year among nearly 200 contestants is some serious investment capital, not to mention 20 hrs of legal advice provided by Entrepreneurship Legal Services (ELS), a priceless startup essential for any budding business. First-prize winners rake in $10,000 and 20 hours of legal counseling (a 500 – $4,000 value). Second place winners receive $2,500 and third-place takes home $1,000. This money comes with no strings attached, although it is intended to be uses solely for the purpose of implementing the business plan presented. The top three teams will also be considered for investment by BRV and business incubation by BRV’s sister organization, BR Incubator. Side benefits enjoyed by all participants include professional feedback, market attention, and the one thing everyone starting their own business can useâ€¦ experience.
Cost of entry in this competition is low and stipulations are few. Teams with at least one member with a Cornell University affiliation, whether it be student, alumna(e), professor, employee, etc. can enter the contest at no charge. Teams with no Cornell affiliation are subject to an entry fee of $50. Such a fee pales by comparison to the growth potential earned by a winning bid. The BIC is special among business plan competitions in that teams are only required to submit a two-page description of their idea, not a full business plan.
Entry Teams will take their ideas, develop them and submit them to a panel of judges. The Entry Teams that submit the best Business Ideas will present their Business Idea before BR Ventures and judges from the venture capital community.
Examples of recent winners include:
1st Place: Sustainable Pharmaceutics of Ithaca, NY, which produces generic drugs at a lower cost through more efficient and environmentally friendly processes.
2nd Place: Illuminaria of Ithaca, NY, which manufactures portable biosensors for point-of-care diagnostics to detect biological threats including pathogenic bacteria such as anthrax.
3rd Place: OTS Diagnostics of Ithaca, NY, which produces hand-held electronic kits that diagnose different diseases simultaneously and instantly.
1st Place: Piasek Biotech, Inc. (PBI) PBI have developed TetanoxÂ® (Tetanus toxin), a neurotoxin related to BotoxÂ® that is being developed as a pharmaceutical to increase activity in motor, autonomic or sensory nerves for up to 2 months.
2nd Place: Fantasy Seats revolutionary business model enables fans to attend post-season games at a fraction of the cost.
3rd Place: Tetragenics Producing a new technology for the large-scale production of recombinant proteins for use in human and animal medicine.
1st Place: The first-prize-winning idea is a unique approach to screening mammograms that uses mathematical formulas to analyze mammography data that will help the radiologist and provide more-accurate readings.
2nd Place: Nanofabrica. They’ll use nontraditional materials and processing technologies to produce and market devices for large, high-resolution visual displays.
3rd Place: A specialized drug delivery system that they hope to market under the name Lifesonics.
Good luck with your entry in this year’s BIC at Cornell!