Business Model Competition Shows New Approach to Entrepreneurship

Some entrepreneurs plan their businesses from behind desks. But a new wave of thought, captured in the first international Business Model Competition, challenges entrepreneurs to test their assumptions in the field before committing them to a business plan. The competition, sponsored by the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at Brigham Young University, culminated with teams of students presenting their innovative findings to a panel of accomplished professionals.

"What started here today is something unique for entrepreneurship worldwide," says Steve Blank, famed entrepreneur and BMC judge. "It was breathtaking to see every one of these teams get out of the building and test their hypotheses instead of guessing what a business is like."

A business model is different from the more familiar business plan because it focuses on internal factors and the evolving process of establishing a business. The inaugural year of the Business Model Competition brought 45 entries from student teams around the nation and the world. The four finalists presented before a live audience at the final event, where they were judged on creativity and how well their model addressed potential customers' needs.

The grand prize and $15,000 was awarded to a pair of American University undergraduates for their social gaming website Gamegnat. Their site creates a central location for gaming information and provides gamers with a streamlined approach to connecting with their peers.

Brad Cahoon, founder and CEO of Kalood, presents at the Business Model Competition. Kalood won second place and the audience choice award.
Brad Cahoon, founder and CEO of Kalood, presents at the Business Model Competition. Kalood won second place and the audience choice award.
A grand total of nearly $50,000 was awarded to the final four student teams, three of which were comprised of Marriott School students. Second place and the audience choice award were given to customer texting service Kalood. Third and fourth places were awarded to campus dining innovator MealDrop and restaurant service program TextWaiter, respectively.

Nathan Furr, a Marriott School entrepreneurship professor and BMC judge, says he was pleased with the quality of entries and the teams' unique entrepreneurial perspectives. "This is a competition where we're rewarding student entrepreneurs who have gone through this new approach of quickly testing their business assumptions in the field instead of just planning. These teams are the future of entrepreneurship,"

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Michelle Treasure