Kohler Center starts new business model challenge

The Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship in Marquette University’s College of Business Administration today announced it is accepting applications for ImpactNext, the center’s new business model challenge.

The new venture contest replaces the Marquette Business Plan Competition, which the Kohler Center sponsored for 10 years.

ImpactNext is open to Marquette University undergraduate and graduate students, alumni and staff. And new to this competition, ImpactNext welcomes community members who are dedicated to fostering job growth and development in the central city. Applicants must submit a registration form, which includes a summary of and questionnaire about the proposed business model, by March 8. The registration fee is $25 for those who apply by Feb. 22 and $50 after. Student scholarships are available.

“We’re excited to take this new direction,” said John Peterson, instructor of entrepreneurship who is coordinating ImpactNext. “While there are plenty of great business plan competitions regionally and state wide, including the Governor’s Business Plan Competition, we are choosing to focus on the development of business models and – more specifically – the customer discovery and validation of those models. We believe that this approach better represents how successful businesses are being created today, and we wanted to respond to that.”

The community component is something Peterson and others in the Kohler Center are particularly excited about. “For many years, we made sure participants had some ‘Marquette DNA,’ but to open up this contest to like-minded individuals who support the university’s mission of improving our central city just makes good sense,” said Alex Stewart, Coleman Chair in Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration.

The competition will culminate with an event on Friday, April 12. Participants will showcase their business models during a networking and poster session. Preliminary judging during that time will determine one winner from each category: undergraduate, graduate, alumni, staff and community. Each category winner is eligible to receive $1,000 toward their venture.

Judges at that time will also determine the top five finalists (not necessarily category winners) who will move on to the next round. Those finalists will deliver one- to two-minute pitches to the judges and the audience; judges will have the opportunity to ask questions. Winners will be announced later in the evening. The grand-prize winner among the five finalists will receive $2,000.

To apply for the program, click here.

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