October 7, 2013

VT KnowledgeWorks is pleased to announce the Game Changers Challenge, a new opportunity for entrepreneurs.  One entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team may qualify for a $25,000 “Running Start” loan plus a package of free startup assistance services.  Solid runners-up may also qualify for free startup assistance. 

Any aspiring entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team may enter.  The challenge is open to all who meet the following criteria: 

  • The product or service to be provided by the venture must either be consumed (not simply re-marketed) by another business, or be integrated into a more complex end-product for downstream sale.
  • The targeted buyers must constitute a relatively narrow demographic niche that can be addressed with limited resources.
  • The proposed product or service must powerfully address some widely acknowledged niche need.
  • High leverage must be obtained by the $25,000 (not just the first $25,000 out of a $1M needed for launch, for instance).
  • The entrepreneurial team must be able to fill the technology leadership roles in the proposed venture.
  • The team must be committed to locating business operations in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.
  • Any intellectual property related to the enterprise must be appropriately owned or licensed by the enterprise.

Finalists will be selected by VT KnowledgeWorks staff, and will then be invited to make a 15-minute presentation to the Running Start Committee on their proposed new ventures.  There will be no public events, nor will competing teams be allowed to attend each other’s presentations.  In the absence of a solid applicant, no loan will be made.  This is a qualifying process, not a contest. 

Proposals must be submitted in accordance with the guidelines available on the VT KnowledgeWorks website www.vtknowledgeworks.com.  The deadline for 2013 application submissions is November 1, 2013.  Applications should be submitted to christine.spalding@vtknowledgeworks.com.  The selection committee will review applications and VT KnowledgeWorks will communicate with applicants shortly thereafter.  Awards will be announced in late November/early December. 

For more information contact Jim Flowers, Executive Director of VT KnowledgeWorks, at 540-443-9100, extension 1 or at jim.flowers@vtknowledgeworks.com. Read about it on our blog at http://www.insidevtknowledgeworks.com/2013/09/vt-knowledgeworks-announces-game-changers-challenge-for-entrepreneurs.html 

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships.  It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual.  Its world headquarters is in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks corporate sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, The Branch Group, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law Group, Latimer IP Law, LLC, LeClairRyan, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and Wordsprint.