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IU launches $250K student biz-plan competition

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A group of 10 investors has created a $1.1 million fund to support $250,000 in annual prize money to Indiana University students in Bloomington who submit the best business plans for a student-led Internet or software company.

The annual prizes for the competition called BEST—Building Entrepreneurs in Software and Technology—will be the largest in the world offered by a university solely to its students in a business-plan competition, IU said when announcing the contest on Monday.

BEST will be managed by the IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing, and the Kelley School of Business.

This year, concepts will need to be submitted by Nov. 15, with initial business plans and presentations of selected teams completed by Feb. 3. Selected finalists will deliver a final plan and a public presentation in mid-April. The winner will be guaranteed at least $100,000 to invest in his or her company, with the remaining prize money to be distributed among selected finalists.

The contest is open to all IU-Bloomington seniors and graduate students.

IU’s Research and Technology Corp. is contributing $100,000 to the competition in addition to the $1 million from the 10 investors.

Investors include CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson, ExactTarget CEO Scott Dorsey and Compendium Software CEO Chris Baggott.

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