March 16 marks the opening of the 2017 People’s Choice Competition that challenges the spirit of each university. Team members, fellow students, alumni, family and friends can vote for their favorite team via a Facebook survey. People can participate by going to https://poll.fbapp.io/2017rbpc. The winner will be announced, Saturday, April 8, at the awards banquet. More than 16,000 votes were cast in 2016.
The team includes U of A students:
- Andrew Miles, an executive M.B.A. student in the Walton College
- Witness Martin, a master’s degree candidate in electrical engineering in the College of Engineering
- Ting Zheng, master’s in accounting in the Walton College
- Willie Evans, an undergraduate chemistry major in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
- Stonie Hopkins, who is also enrolled in the executive M.B.A. program.
The winner will take home a grand prize valued at more than $450,000, including seed funding and the opportunity to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ Marketsite. Judges select the winner based on the company that represents the best investment opportunity.
The teams for this year’s competition were chosen from nearly 350 entrants to compete in four categories: life sciences; information technology/Web/mobile; energy/clean technology/sustainability; and other.
More than 163 former competitors have gone on to successfully launch their ventures and are still in business today and another 20 have successfully sold their ventures. Past competitors have raised in excess of $2 billion in funding and created more than 2,000 new jobs.
More than 140 corporate and private sponsors support the business plan competition, which includes 275 judges from the investment sector and awards more than $1 million in prizes. Top prizes include the $300,000 Investment Grand Prize from The GOOSE Society of Texas, the $200,000+ OWL Investment Prize and the $100,000 Cisco Innovation Challenge Prize.
This year’s other prizes include the $50,000 U.S. Department of Energy Clean Energy Prize, the $50,000 Second Prize, the $25,000 nCourage Women Courageous Entrepreneurs Prize, the $25,000 Women’s Health and Wellness Innovation Prize and the $20,000 NASA Earth/Human Health and Human Performance Innovation Cash Award.
For more information on the 2017 Rice Business Plan Competition and past competitors’ success stories, visit www.rbpc.rice.edu.