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The top team in the 2015 Startup Competition will win $15,000 as well as the Edison Prize (pictured).
The top team in the 2015 Startup Competition will win $15,000 as well as the Edison Prize (pictured).

2015 Startup Competition Starts Now: Tech Graduate Students Can Form Teams, Register

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur at Georgia Tech? Do you want to learn how to launch a startup by doing instead of just talking? If so, then the 2015 Georgia Tech Startup Competition could be your golden ticket.

Don’t have an idea or a team? No problem. Competition organizers at Georgia Tech’s VentureLab say a passion for entrepreneurship is all that is required to succeed in the competition, which is open to all current Georgia Tech graduate students and 2014 master’s/doctoral graduates.

You can learn more and find potential teammates through workshops/mixers being held in Room 300 of Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business on September 29 and October 6 from 7:45 p.m.-9 p.m. The September 29 workshop is on “Customer Segments and Value Propositions,” while the October 6 event covers “Customer Discovery” and provides an overview of the competition.

The team application deadline is October 13. Mentoring is available to teams throughout the academic year in preparation for the semifinals on March 2 and finals on March 9 at Scheller College of Business, the competition’s sponsor.

Cash Prizes

Teams, which can include 2 to 6 people, are competing for $40,000 in prizes: $15,000 for first prize, $5,000 for second, and $3,000 for third (plus two additional $1,000 prizes). Starting with the 2015 competition, the first prize team will also win the prestigious Edison Prize (a $15,000 convertible note).

Known as the Business Plan Competition from 2001 to 2013, the Startup Competition now focuses on discovering a market opportunity and creating an innovative business model to address it. No written business plan, financial projections, or investor pitch is required. Instead, teams work together to define a compelling startup.

Startup Approach

Most technology startups fail because they start executing before they have a proven business model, note the competition organizers. The Startup Competition helps positions teams for success by requiring them to talk regularly to potential customers to ensure that they’re developing a product or service that people want.

Sixteen teams will be selected by VentureLab to present at the semifinals, and then judges will decide which eight teams advance to the final round

Teams may not enter with an existing business, because the goal of the Startup Competition is to discover new business opportunities. The only exception to the requirement of being a Georgia Tech graduate student/2014 graduate is for Emory law students who are teamed with Tech students through the Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results (TI:GER) Program.

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