Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Teams Polish Business Pitches for Tri-State Competition

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Teams Polish Business Pitches for Tri-State Competition

Article excerpt

Some of Oklahoma's most promising new entrepreneurs were polishing their business pitches Friday for the opportunity to win thousands of dollars next month in the Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State Cup in Las Vegas.

Oklahoma's representatives were chosen recently in the annual Governor's Cup, a statewide competition for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing business degrees or involved in related coursework. Similar events were held in Arkansas and Nevada.

This year's top winning business concepts focused on biotech. In the graduate division, a team from the University of Oklahoma will move forward with its CerebroGen Pharmaceuticals concept, developing an antibody-based drug treatment for epilepsy. And in the undergraduate division, another OU team will promote its LumiDX plan, built around a new influenza diagnostic test.

"It's all about their stand-up investor pitch," said Tom Walker, president of managing sponsor i2E Inc. "So we're doing the same thing with them today that we normally do for our typical Oklahoma entrepreneur clients - critiquing their presentations and drilling them with hard questions. Hopefully that will prepare them for the final round of judges, because that panel has some very serious business people who can recognize the potential for success. They will not take this lightly."

The competition's goal is to simulate the entrepreneurial process of creating a business plan and soliciting startup funds from potential investors. As students move through the experience over several weeks, they are exposed to networks of other successful business operators, lenders and investors, Walker said.

"We're pleased to see so many of Oklahoma's best and brightest college students take this important step forward toward building a career in entrepreneurship," Walker said. "All Oklahomans should be as proud as we are of these students who researched, wrote and pitched such outstanding business plans."

The annual competition continues to grow larger with more student interest and opportunities for financial prizes. About 40 teams from college campuses across the state competed this year for more than $120,000 in cash and prizes, including scholarships and work fellowships. …

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