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Eller College Home > News, Events, and Multimedia > Press Releases > 2005 SEED business plan competition

Press Release

Eller Press Contact

Liz Warren-Pederson
Eller College of Management

Student team from the Eller College’s McGuire Entrepreneurship Program makes final cut in national 2005 Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development business plan competition

Eller team is one of only two teams to advance to finals two years in a row.

TUCSON, Ariz. – February 2, 2005 – The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management announces that a student team from its Karl Eller Center/McGuire Entrepreneurship Program has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious national 2005 Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development business plan competition, known as SEED. The team was selected as one of nine finalists who will compete among graduate and undergraduate teams from some of the country’s leading entrepreneurship programs.

The UA finalist team is a collaborative group of business, science, and technology students working together to create a new venture. The team consists of second-year Eller MBA students Warren Donian, Carlos Mendoza, and Marisol Ramos; John Goulding who is a Ph.D. student from The University of Arizona’s renowned Optical Sciences program; and Niranjan Kesani, a Master’s student in MIS and Entrepreneurship. Their business plan, called AutonomX, creates safe autonomously-operated mobile vehicles through a combination of sophisticated, intelligent technologies. This safe-vehicle technology has significant benefits in industry, military, agriculture, and security environments.

Interim Dean of the Eller College, Kenneth R. Smith, commented, “This plan is a great example of the innovation and opportunity that can be created by opening entrepreneurship education to a wide range of university learners.” The technology is the exclusive brainchild of the student team, which spans professional and academic backgrounds. Academic and practical leadership in the entrepreneurship program are customized to meet the needs of individual teams, based on their new venture concepts. Graduates of the McGuire Program, ranked #11 by U.S. News & World Report, have successfully launched numerous technology solutions into the marketplace.

“Graduates of the entrepreneurship program start more new businesses, develop more products, and are more likely to be involved in high technology endeavors than their peers. Companies look to hire individuals who have proven experience developing innovative business products, services, and plans. This competition gives us another avenue to prepare our students to meet the needs of today’s innovative and demanding business environment,” said Gary Libecap, Director, Karl Eller Center, which houses the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.

The McGuire team will present to a panel of judges March 4-5 in Santa Barbara, California. The competition is sponsored by Santa Barbara-based TechKnowledge Point, provider of new venture research and sponsor of the annual Collegiate Entrepreneurship National Rankings. In addition to the team from The University of Arizona, the finalist teams come from the University of California Berkeley, Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Texas at Austin, Westmont College, University of Akron, and University of Florida (also a 2004 finalist).

The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is a National Model Program of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and is home to the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, ranked the #2 public undergraduate and #1 public graduate program in the nation by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review. Established in 1984, it was one of the first university-based entrepreneurship centers in the country. Today, the Center offers entrepreneurship education for any graduate program at the University of Arizona and reaches more than 1,000 undergraduate students every semester. With courses in business, law, science, engineering, health, medicine, arts, and humanities, the McGuire Center advances the state and regional economy, advances entrepreneurship education nationwide, and teaches life-long problem solving for economic, social, scientific, and environmental progress.

The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program No. 11 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program No. 48 in the U.S. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the No. 25-ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,800 undergraduate and 800 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and on its satellite campus in downtown Phoenix.

Press Contact:
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management

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