UNT’s Murphy Center awards $40,000 to student entrepreneurs
DENTON (UNT), Texas--The University of North Texas Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship, housed in UNT’s College of Business, awarded $40,000 in prizes to student winners of the center’s New Venture Creation Contest Nov. 9 (Friday).
The annual contest simulates the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. Each year student groups submit business plans for consideration, and winners are announced at the Murphy Center’s Leadership Luncheon.
The 2012 winners include Avant Solutions, LLC, ($20,000), which offers advertising, marketing and small business solutions; Click Clack ($10,000), a short films distribution business which aims to gather short films from around the world and organize them into DVD collections; Growin Green EcoFarm ($5,000), a start-up venture providing the Weatherford, Texas, area with high-quality, sustainable vegetables, fish and compost through the use of aquaponics.
“I’m still pretty speechless about winning the New Venture Creation Contest,” said Brian Ivanchan, UNT student and founder of Avant Solutions. “When I won I knew right then everything I went through this summer with the competition, school, personally, work related and trying to grow as an entrepreneur was worth it, and that it was time for me to work harder at what I love to do.”
An award of $5,000 was also given to the business plan with the greatest social impact, as part of the contest’s Social Enterprise Venture Competition. The 2012 winner is PCs2Prosper, a nonprofit organization aiming to collect and refurbish used computers from corporations in Texas for use by disadvantaged children in the North Texas region.
“Students have been working on their business plans for close to one year, and were finalists selected from nearly 30 students who applied,” said Tony Mendes, Murphy Center director. “The Murphy Center supported the development of the business plans through individual consultation sessions, the 2012 Entrepreneurs Boot Camp and mentoring from local entrepreneurs.”
Finalists in the competition came from diverse majors including history, film, communications, marketing and entrepreneurship. Students from UNT’s Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science also were involved.
Past winners of the contest have gone on to open a diverse range of businesses, including a cupcake bakery, a fireworks company, a non-profit tutoring service and a local brewery.
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