Eller College entrepreneurs poised to make their mark on Arizona economy
McGuire competition winners are confident as they move forward with business launches
TUCSON, Ariz. – May 15, 2006 – Within the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, an incubator has quietly been nurturing its progeny. It is now set to hatch the next clutch of fledgling ventures. At least eight new enterprises, including the six finalists in the CB Richard Ellis / McGuire Entrepreneurship Business Plans Competition at The University of Arizona, are ready to launch the businesses they created.
Three graduate and three undergraduate entrepreneurship teams earned finalist berths at the 2006 CB Richard Ellis / McGuire Entrepreneurship Business Plans Competition on Friday, April 28. The victors — Cetra Coatings at the graduate level and undergraduate team Upper Hand Athletics — prevailed against other Eller College teams which placed in the top three in national and international competitions earlier this spring.
“From an outsider’s perception, the McGuire event appeared to be a home-team competition. Home teams they were, but in this event, McGuire teams were competing against the best in the nation,” said Sherry Hoskinson, director of the McGuire Center.
All six competition finalists plan to launch their businesses in Arizona within a year. The state economy will soon be infused with new products ranging from scratch-resistant plastic coatings for multiple product applications (Cetra Coatings), to a patch called ElectroLick that delivers bursts of moisture and electrolytes to dry-mouthed runners (Upper Hand Athletics), as well as services that will improve quality of life. The latter include a blood test that quickly detects multiple sclerosis (MSDx), a blood vessel mimic technology used to test medical products (BVM Technologies), a drive-through organic food restaurant featuring air-baked yam chips called ‘Yammies’ (REAL Food Restaurants), and an online service to promote and sell student art (Original Theory).
In characterizing their McGuire experience, competition finalists stressed the words invaluable, incredible, phenomenal networking opportunities, real applications, and the importance of national business plan competitions. “This is the best thing I’ve done in college. The program pulled together all four years,” said Grant Sahag, finance manager for Upper Hand Athletics. “It’s all about application and pressing the entrepreneurial mind and spirit,” he added.
Eller MBA student Robin Meeks, marketing manager of BVM Technologies, which is set to be up and running by December 2006, echoed Sahag. “This project reinforces the core classes and provides real-life experiences,” she said. “We are confident that our technology is needed and that our company will be successful because we were pushed to scrutinize every angle.”
Allan Conger, MSDx operations manager, had a different revelation. “Through the McGuire entrepreneurship experience, MSDx has become more than a business. Multiple sclerosis is a real disease that affects so many more people than I realized, and I have been deeply touched by them. Knowing that we have a product that can help is very satisfying.”
Cetra Coatings’ general manager Patrick Marcus credits General Plasma of Tucson with providing his company the license to the technology around which it is building its business. A Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering, Marcus is looking forward to getting the business off the ground, and is pleased to have bridged the gap between the realms of research science and business. “Many technology people don’t know how to communicate their ideas to the business community,” he said. “Now, I can speak in both worlds.”
To learn more about these and other new McGuire alumni businesses, or the entrepreneurship program, contact Sherry Hoskinson in the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at 520.621.4823.
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 #14 among public business schools and three of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship, MIS, and Management. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program #44 in the U.S. and #21 among public business schools. The College leads the nation’s business schools in generating grant funds for research. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers an Evening MBA program and the Eller Executive MBA. The Eller College of Management supports approximately 5,700 undergraduate and 700 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona.
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management
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