$100,000 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition Announced

Supported by unique coalition of public, private, government organizations

PROVIDENCE — (Sept. 14, 2005) — The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition today announced the start of its 2006 competition that will award more than $100,000 in prizes to the winners.

In addition to doubling the prizes awarded in earlier competitions, the 2006 competition will provide two tracks, one for entrepreneurs and another for students.

“We have expanded the competition to encourage the greatest level of participation,” said Charles Kingdon, associate vice president of Brown Technology Partnerships at BrownUniversity, who is co-chairing the event with Garrett B. Hunter, president of the Business Development Company of Rhode Island.

He added, “Our goal is to promote entrepreneurship and development of start-up and early stage companies in Rhode Island.”

This year’s competition will be the third since 2001. Following a two-year hiatus, a number of business and civic leaders felt it was important to band together and hold the event again, said Hunter.

Richard L. Bready, chairman and CEO of Nortek, Inc., said, “I’m excited that we have been able to come together as a community to make this new competition happen. Not only will it encourage entrepreneurs, but it will also help strengthen the Rhode Island economy.”

Michael McMahon, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, lauded the undertaking, saying, “This year’s effort is unique among business plan competitions. Unlike other business plan competitions, which typically are college or university based, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition is organized and supported by a coalition of businesses, universities, nonprofits, a foundation, and a Rhode Island government agency.”

Applicants to the competition need not be based in Rhode Island, but to be considered they must agree to establish or expand business operations in Rhode Island if they win.

The winners of the 2006 competition will be announced at the April 27 meeting of the Brown Forum for Enterprise.

Free Workshops Will Help Competitors Prepare

In addition to the entrepreneur and student tracks, this year’s competition features four free workshops to help participants prepare their entry. Kicking off the program next month will be a general planning session, followed by workshops on “Getting Your Business Off the Ground,” “Writing a Business Plan,” and “Pitching Your Business.”

Lead underwriters of the competition include Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels, LLP, Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP, and Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co., Ltd. Underwriters include Brown University, Embolden Design, Nortek, Inc., and the Providence Journal.

Sponsors and supporters include Brown Forum for Enterprise, Business Development Company of Rhode Island, Cherrystone Angel Group, Johnson and Wales University, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Point Judith Capital, Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, Rhode Island Foundation, Sovereign Bank, Tech Collective, The Slater Fund, and University of Rhode Island.

Judges Represent Rhode Island Business

Eight business leaders are participating as judges in the 2006 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition. They are:

  • Richard L. Bready, Chairman and CEO, Nortek, Inc.
  • Larry Davidson, Principal, Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co., Ltd.
  • Jayne M. Donegan, Partner, Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels LLP
  • Garrett B. Hunter, President, Business Development Company of Rhode Island
  • Charles Kingdon, Associate Vice President Technology Partnerships, BrownUniversity
  • Gina Raimondo, Managing Partner and Founder, Point Judith Capital Partners
  • Louis Soares, Associate Director of Small Business Services, Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation
  • Weng Tao, CSO and Vice President, Research & Development, Neurotech USA

Competition Rules

Any individual or team with an innovative idea to start a new business or take an early stage company to the next level may enter the competition. In addition, competition rules state that:

  • There is no limit on the number of people on a team.
  • Any area of commercial endeavor is valid.
  • All applications must be the original work of those making the submission.
  • The winning individual or team must agree to establish or expand operations in Rhode Island.

Previously, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition awarded a single prize of $50,000. Earlier winners included a seed-stage company that was developing a wearable diagnostic tool for monitoring acute asthma conditions and a one-year-old company that developed a marine navigation device which allows mariners to “see ahead” of the vessel underwater.