Deadline approaches for Business Plan Competition

Sept. 10, 2012

Eleanor Skelton
eskelton@uccs.edu

Young generations are raised to believe in themselves, reach for their highest aspirations and make them happen, but are these expectations are not always realistic in the current economic climate.

The second annual UCCS Sports/Outdoor Business Plan Competition, formed by the College of Business and funded largely through Challenger Homes, seeks to eliminate that restriction.

Undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines and U.S.-based universities are encouraged to submit their business proposals for a sports-centered company by Sept.17.

The only major restriction is that at least half of the principals of the submitted business plan must be currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs when they apply.

“The intent of this competition, of course, is to begin to recruit these top-notch companies to our region,” said Tom Duening, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and El Pomar Chair of Business and Entrepreneurship, in a June 6 press release. “We believe the region is prime for a sports/outdoor industry cluster to emerge and grow.”

“Sports/outdoor industry cluster” includes not only popular retailers like L.L. Bean, REI, Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops but also an almost unlimited number of sports concepts, such as sports apps, apparel and equipment, social media, yoga studios and fantasy sports. It also includes anti-doping detection to ensure that cheating is excluded from specific sports divisions.

“Our region is poised to become the sports and outdoors venture center of the United States,” Duening said. “With the USOC headquartered here, more than 20 national sports governing bodies and our natural amenities make us the perfect location for ventures and entrepreneurs with sports and outdoor themes.”

Colorado is the most physically fit state in the nation with an obesity rate just over 20 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearby mountains make both hiking and skiing convenient for residents, and many living in Colorado Springs ride their bikes as a form of transportation.

In a CU newsletter a year and a half ago, Duening said that Colorado Springs and the surrounding area is a “perfect laboratory for experiments in new venture creation, primarily … because the environment is so pristine here. Anybody that goes out and creates the next ‘whatever’ has the opportunity to control market space because there’s not a whole lot of competition.

“In the Silicon Valley, for instance, you’re going to be up against a thousand others looking for the same dollars, so it’s very difficult to innovate and find a niche. But not so much here.”

Last year’s winner, Janji apparel, was awarded funds and is in the process of making its design a reality.

While Duening was not available for comment about the entries received to date, his assistant Shawna Markiewicz said that Duening had mentioned that “the ones that are coming in are pretty strong so far.”

Submissions must be received via gust.com. Applications may be submitted at gust.com/business-plan-competition/uccs/apply.

The first place prize is $20,000, second place is $10,000, third place is $3,500 and fourth place is $1,500.  The awards will be given at a banquet Oct. 26.