March 22, 2014

The next Bill Gates or Warren Buffet could emerge as a winner of the fourth annual New Venture Competition at Central Michigan University.

Led by the CMU College of Business Administration’s Isabella Bank Institute for Entrepreneurship, 23 teams will compete for $75,000 in venture capital funds Friday in the Education and Human Services Building on CMU’s campus.

“The student teams from CMU and Michigan Technological University are the next generation of Michigan entrepreneurs,” said Debra Zellner, executive director for the Isabella Bank Institute for Entrepreneurship. “These business leaders of tomorrow are building something that they see as an unmet need. They have passion and a commitment to think big, make their product be successful.”

More than 50 judges comprised of CMU alumni entrepreneurs, business and community leaders, angel investors and venture capital experts support the competition.

The lunch panel discussion on early stage funding includes Ken Rogers, executive director of Automation Alley; Paula Sorrell, vice president of entrepreneurship, innovation and venture capital for the Michigan Economic Development Corp.; Diane Durance, president of MiQuest; Ken Kousky, president and CEO of Blue Water Angels; Cia McCaffrey, former vice president of Foresee Results; and Erin O’Brien, president and CEO of CMU Research Corp.

Awards will be handed out in 10 categories this year including $30,000 in seed money for the best overall venture.

“The passion and drive of our entrepreneurial students is inspiring,” said Chuck Crespy, dean of the college of business administration. “The countless hours spent over the last seven months working with faculty, mentors and experienced entrepreneurs will come to fruition as students transform their prototype ventures into a sustainable business.”

Saturday, March 22, 2014 6:45 am
By the Midland Daily News