The Dolan School’s Inaugural Business Plan Competition

Submitted by Carolyn Arnold, Associate Director, Marketing & Communications on March 13, 2012

This year, Fairfield University’s Dolan School of Business (DSB) will present all Fairfield undergraduate students with an exciting opportunity to pursue their own unique ventures through the “DSB Inaugural Business Plan Competition.” Prize money totaling $12,000 will be divided among the winners. 33750_BusinessPlanComp Pstcrd

“We see this as a way to draw on the innovation and energy of our students,” said Donald E. Gibson, Ph.D., dean of the Dolan School. “We’re looking forward to seeing a variety of creative ideas that can be turned into viable plans for real entrepreneurial businesses.”

Students will work in groups from across campus to develop and submit a proposal for a business venture, which will be judged by an expert panel of entrepreneurs and business executives in the spring.

The competition builds on a three-year initiative in the Dolan School’s Department of Management to develop students’ capacity in entrepreneurship, including new courses, a concentration within management, and a new entrepreneurship minor, available to all Fairfield students. These efforts came in the wake of the University learning that an increasing number of students harbored ambitions to become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial firms now make up a significant and growing part of the American economy and are the primary generators of new job creation.

“With $12,000 available as prize money, you can imagine the level of excitement and enthusiasm that the competition has generated already,” said Mukesh Sud, Ph.D., assistant professor of management.

Dr. Sud will be coordinating the competition, with a committee of faculty members from across the University, including the School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences. A former successful entrepreneur, Dr. Sud was hired two years ago to teach entrepreneurship courses in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business.  He said that it is the school’s hope that the competition will encourage cross-campus activity.  “We are open, completely open,” he explained. “Projects just need to present something feasible and something that can be implemented.”

Once students submit a one-page proposal, they will be assigned a faculty advisor and an outside entrepreneur who will advise and mentor their team through the process.

The project was developed with help from the DSB’s Advisory Council.  Hugh Davis ’95, co-founder of Greenfield Online (an independent provider of internet survey solutions to the global marketing research industry) and reInvention, LLC, and Mary Campbell, M.A. ‘72, managing director of EDF Ventures (a Michigan-based venture capital firm, which invests in early stage market-driven opportunities in healthcare), donated the start-up funds for this new endeavor.

Dr. Sud explained that entrepreneurism is all about creating an awareness of opportunities. “Even this economic climate should not dissuade people. There are opportunities everywhere,” he said.

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