MBA Students Developing Start-ups With Help From Business Competitions

NEW ORLEANS (Press Release – January 13, 2012) – With today’s ever-challenging economy and difficulty for college graduates to find work, many students are choosing a less traditional path to success and employment. With help from business competitions, like the Tulane Entrepreneurs’ Association Business competition, which partners with the Domain Companies New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge, much-needed start-up capital is available to graduates ready to enter the workforce with a good, viable idea.

The 12th Annual Tulane Business Plan Competition is a unique competition. It focuses specifically on conscious capitalism and awards $50,000 to the company that creates the best sustainable business model. The 2nd Annual Domain Companies New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge will award $20,000 to the company that presents the best plan for the creation or expansion of a New Orleans-based business that demonstrates strong growth potential and positive local impact.

“We are seeing more and more students looking to start businesses around the globe. Our competition gives aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to jump start the growth of their venture,” says Tulane Entrepreneurs’ Association (TEA) President Court Robinson. “Our goal is to continue to grow the competition by focusing on the principles of conscious capitalism. We believe that students are more dedicated than ever to creating businesses that align the interests of all stakeholders.”

The Domain Companies, one of the country’s preeminent real estate development firms, is joining efforts with the top-ranked A.B. Freeman School of Business and the Tulane Entrepreneurs to create the Domain Companies New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge. The Domain Companies has donated $60,000 to start the Domain Challenge, and the annual cash prize will be $20,000. The cash prize for the 2012 Tulane Business Plan Competition is $50,000, bringing the grand total of prize money awarded through Tulane competitions $70,000. This is one of the largest cash prize awarded by a university business plan competition in the country.

The Domain Companies Founders Matt Schwartz and Chris Papamichael, both A.B.Freeman School of Business alumni, are focused on creating developments that not only revitalize and improve communities within New Orleans, but provide the housing, amenities and services necessary to attract and retain the creative class that will fuel the expansion of industries including biosciences, digital media and film production.

“We see tremendous potential for growth in New Orleans through continued development of a knowledge-based workforce and a thriving entrepreneurial community. We wanted to help facilitate economic development and an entrepreneurial spirit through the Tulane Business Plan Competition,” says Domain Companies Principal Matt Schwartz.

The Tulane Business Plan Competition is receiving nationwide attention for creating a unique challenge. This year, more than 120 regional industry professionals and business leaders will be involved and the number of applications has increased dramatically over the last four years.

“Since the focus is on conscious capitalism, businesses making a difference in the world, we get a high number of quality entries in our competition,” said Schwartz.

One of last year’s winners, Kickboard, formerly known as Drop the Chalk, which creates web-based software that enables teachers to use data to improve student performance, launched into the education technology market. “For me, winning the Domain competition validated my business model which not only further motivated me, but also served as great signal to external investors,” says Kickboard CEO Jen Medbery. “Plus, I wanted to stay in New Orleans because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the city. I could do that thanks to the TEA and Domain. Instead of grinding the pavement looking for jobs that may not exist, I have nurtured my own idea in helping struggling students.”

Other successful start-ups that participated in the TEA and Domain competitions include, America’s first person-to-business lending company; Pathostat, LLC, which has developed a patent-pending medical device that excises cancerous tissue during cancer surgery; and OsComp Systems, which is awaiting patent approval for technology that reduces operating and capital costs of compression in natural gas.

The Tulane Business Plan Competition registration is open and looking for applicants. The deadline to apply at is January, 22, 2012. The competitions are open to teams of early stage ventures or new venture ideas. Members of the team can be post-graduate professionals, but each team must have at least one student enrolled at an accredited university. Applicants are welcome from across the world.

The winners of both competitions will demonstrate the best plan for long-term growth and positive outcomes.

The Tulane Business Plan Competition was founded by students in 2000, with the goal of teaching students interested in entrepreneurship the set of skills needed to start a new venture as well as to expose these young entrepreneurs to investors who could fund their businesses. In recent years, the contest expanded to include social entrepreneurship ventures from regional, national and international university students. The Tulane Business Plan Competition remains one of the only student run competitions and awards one of the highest cash prizes nationwide.

Giving back to the communities in which they build stands at the heart of the culture at The Domain Companies. Domain is committed achieving award-winning excellence in every project they undertake. From master planning to architectural and interior design, the attention to detail and quality of their projects is unparalleled. Their developments are planned in close collaboration with neighbors and maximize environmentally sensitive and sustainable design. At the core of the company’s mission, the long-term approach to development allows for the vision to create true value and ensure that their projects lay the foundation from which future progress is made. Visit their website at

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