GCU Professor, Club Launch Major Business-Plan Competition

February 23, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

By Doug Carroll
GCU News Bureau 

When you’re “an entrepreneur at heart,” as Tim Kelley describes himself, ideas make the world go ’round. And that’s the thinking behind IDEA. 

The assistant professor in GCU’s Ken Blanchard College of Business is the faculty sponsor for the Innovation, Development & Entrepreneurship Association, a campus club geared toward helping students, faculty and staff put their ideas into action. 

“It’s both a forum and a proving ground,” Kelley says of the club, which is in its first year and has more than 40 active members. 

GCU senior Austin Garrett (left) and KBCOB Assistant Professor Tim Kelley have their sights set on the first IDEA business-plan competition, the Canyon Challenge.

Now comes IDEA’s best idea yet: the Canyon Challenge, a business-plan competition with cash prizes and Angel Investors serving as judges or observers. Kelley was involved in such a competition at the Thunderbird School of Global Management nearly 10 years ago, and it drew finalists from abroad. 

GCU’s competition will roll out in three phases. A two-page executive summary of a business plan will be due on March 23. Two weeks later, select candidates will be asked to submit a full business plan and a PowerPoint presentation. Then, probably around April 25 in Ethington Theatre, five finalists will present their plans before a panel of judges and a cheering audience, in a playoff-type atmosphere. 

The grand prize: $3,500 and the opportunity to receive start-up capital from an investor. 

Austin Garrett, a GCU senior majoring in business management, already has the contest in his sights. His business plan will outline a social-networking site for scholarships that he says would fill a need for “a student who may not have a 4.0 GPA but has incredible promise.” It also would represent an easy way for businesses to get a line on upcoming talent, he says. 

Kelley, who has worked internationally in the fields of commercial real estate and construction management, recently concluded a project as an adviser to the Central Bank of Angola. A native of Phoenix, he went to high school in Chile and Portugal and to college at Gonzaga University. 

As an Angel Investor himself, he’s on the lookout for “small companies with upside,” he says. GCU is ripe for a business-plan competition, in his estimation. 

“I’m attracted to the entrepreneurial spirit of the school,” Kelley says. “This is an organization of people with diverse interests. IDEA is an attempt to match gaps (in knowledge) with skill sets and to bring those ideas to fruition. 

“An organization needs a channel like (IDEA), and a natural outgrowth is a business-plan competition. … I’d like to make this competition as big as possible.” 

Kelley says he expects more than two dozen plans to be submitted for the competition. GCU students, faculty and staff — from both the traditional and online campuses — are eligible. Teams need not consist entirely of GCU members. 

For more information on the competition, contact Kelley at 639.7721 or timothy.kelley@gcu.edu

Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or doug.carroll@gcu.edu.

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