Students to Compete Nov. 20 for the First U.Va. Entrepreneurship Cup

November 13, 2009 — You're a young professional who has to relocate for a new job. Where do you go for help?

Some day, it may be a concierge service called Moverang, an entrepreneurial concept created by a student at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education.

He and students from five other schools at the University will compete on Nov. 20 for the first-ever U.Va. Entrepreneurship Cup – and a $20,000 first prize for the best concept. The proposals range from consumer products and services to new uses for technologies.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the McIntire School of Commerce, Rouss and Robertson Hall, room 120.

"This U.Va. Cup competition will make the entrepreneurial talent at U.Va. visible and enhance our mission of disseminating knowledge to the world," Thomas C. Skalak, vice president for research, said.

Proposals from Curry, the Darden School of Business, the McIntire School of Commerce and the schools of Law, Medicine and Engineering and Applied Science will be presented. Philippe Sommer, director of entrepreneurship programs at the Darden School, said it's important to involve disciplines from across the University.

"Entrepreneurship is a mindset anyone can adopt, no matter what their field of study," he said. "It's about changing the world, which makes it the province of artists, educators, engineers and business people."

The competition is sponsored by the U.Va. Office of the Vice President for Research and the Darden School, with the generous support of Third Security LLC, a venture capital firm specializing in biotechnology and life sciences. Randal J. Kirk, chairman and CEO of Third Security, is a member of the U.Va. Board of Visitors.

"We are extremely pleased to have such a visible and world-class partner in Third Security," Skalak said.

Kirk said his company is pleased that the University is making entrepreneurship a priority. "There is nothing more important to economic – or even cultural – progress than entrepreneurship. It is the foundation of invention and of the functionalization of science and technology to a social purpose."

The event is also part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which runs Monday through Nov. 22.

Undergraduate and graduate students will make 10-minute pitches, followed by 10 minutes of questions from the judges, all experienced entrepreneurs. The winning project will receive a $20,000 cash prize, with $10,000 for second place and $5,000 for third.

"We hope the students will use their competition winnings to turn their ideas into reality," Sommer said. "It's a great benefit to receive seed money without giving up any equity or borrowing from friends, family and fools."

A cup designed for the occasion by members of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the sculpture program in the McIntire Department of Art will also be presented to the winners.

M.J. Toms, associate director of entrepreneurship programs at Darden, said, "It is a creative and unique design – reflecting the talents of both the art and engineering students," she said. The cup will be unveiled at the event.

The process started as early as September with participation of the College of Arts & Sciences, McIntire, Curry, Darden and the schools of Architecture, Law, Engineering, Medicine and Nursing. Students were required to submit proposals in late October or early November. School competitions were held between Nov. 6 and 12.

The proposals that will compete on Nov. 20 are:

• Moverang, which "simplifies the moving process for young professionals as an online, fee-based concierge." (Clinton D. Webb, Curry)

• KaioTeas.com, "online retailer of herbal tea and organic honey, offering the biggest and most exciting selection of quality products from all over the world." (Georgi Yanchev, Darden)

• Rheo Logic, using ultrasound-based technology to make high-accuracy, in-line measurements to detail the structural properties of pharmaceutical products, foods and beverages, improving safety of consumer products. (Will Mauldin, Medicine)

• Life-Preserving Belt, using pressure-activated carbon dioxide cartridges to inflate a series of bladders once the belt is submerged under several inches of water, making life jackets less cumbersome and improving low life- preserver usage rates among recreational boaters. (Adam Malcom and Scott Kasen, Engineering)

• Petrohedge, a proposal to use derivatives markets to lock in gas prices and allow personal hedging. (Brian Coppola and Clinton Dockery, Law)

• Cspot, which enables drivers to find, reserve and pay for parking spaces in high-demand environments such as universities, large cities and major events. (Ashley Eidson and Taylor Burrow, McIntire)