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EI in the News

Competition Finals: UMass Entrepreneurship Initiative Executive Summary

In Brief:

Students present their business ideas to real investors and compete for $5k in funding.
3/27 | 5:00 pm | SOM 210


  1. Poster Session & Networking - (40 minutes) Finalists will staff trade-show style displays and talk with judges, fellow students, and other guests about their businesses.
  2. Presentations - (60 minutes) Finalists will deliver "elevator pitches" to the audience and take questions from the judges. 
  3. Deliberations & Speaker - (15 minutes) While the judges deliberate our guest speaker will deliver their lecture. 
  4. Awards Ceremony - (20 minutes) The judges will provide constructive feedback for each finalist and then announce their award recommendations.

Looking for the competition's rules and application form?

About the Competition

The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation's Entrepreneurship Initiative and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) proudly sponsor the UMass Entrepreneurship Initiative Executive Summary Competition that seeks to recognize talented and committed collegiate entrepreneurs.  Based on the judges decisions, monetary awards will be awarded to selected finalists as well as mentoring from the Foundation's board of advisors.

Quick Version

  • What we look for - Entrepreneurs with the strongest business proposition and ability to execute. 
  • Process - Submit your documentation according to our guidelines (detailed in the TIME LINE section below).  A screening committee decides if you make it to the finals. There you will staff a story board presentation display and give a ninety second pitch to our judges and answer their questions in a public event.  Winners receive monetary awards and mentoring.

Full Details


  • The winners of our local competition can win up to $5,000 to support the development of their business.
    • Maximum award for a business in existence is $5,000
    • Maximum prize for a business still in the "concept" phase is $1000
  • Constructive feedback from our panel of judges, all of whom are veteran investors and/or business executives.
  • Winners earn a seat at a regional competition sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation.  The regional competition takes place in the spring and there you can win up to several thousands in additional funding.

All prize winners also receive one year of mentoring from the HGCF Entrepreneurship Initiative's board of advisors


  • Your company cannot have receieved funding from angel groups or venture capital firms.
  • Attend UMass Amherst part-time or full-time as a undergraduate or graduate student, OR be an alum who has graduated within five years of the nomination
  • Have taken action toward pursuing his/her entrepreneurial interests
  • Have a for-profit business model (this includes “social entrepreneurship” ventures as long as they are for-profit).
  • Commit, if chosen to receive an award, to attend the annual spring banquet (held on March 15th, 2008) and participate in the Entrepreneurship Exhibit held during the social hour
  • Your business cannot be based in a country where the U.S. has declared war or where terrorism or anti-American sentiment is high OR where additional follow-up by the Foundation is required by the Patriot Act. 

Judging Criteria

Our judges are looking to recognize companies with the strongest business proposition and ability to execute. 

By a strong business proposition, we mean a company with compelling answers to the questions posed in the executive summary template (imbedded within our application for the competition).  By ability to execute, we mean entrepreneurs with the ability, knowledge, ambition and passion to make the business successful.

Our judges, just like real investors or partners, will rely on a "gut" analysis of your written documentation, in-person presentation, and your ability to answer their questions live.  Also, like the real world, good written documentation is needed to get your foot in the door (get you into the finals), but to win you will need to sell your story in person.

Time Line

Feb 14 through March 13 – Worshops and Preparation
The workshops will help prepare your work with you to refine your competition submission

March 13 @ Noon – DEADLINE for submission of draft application
Contestants must fill out the online application, ES_Competition_App_2008.03.08.doc and email it to Claudio at

March 13 Executive Summary Workshop - SOM 210 at 5:00pm

March 20 @ Noon DEADLINE for submission of final version of application 

March 21 @ Noon – Announcement of Finalists
All applicants will be informed via email if they made it to the finals.  They will also be provided any written feedback the judges had to offer.

March 27 @ 5:00pm Competition Finals (see Agenda above for details) 

Date&location-to-be-announced – Pitch Workshop
This event is an open-to-the-public dress rehearsal.  The Finalists must deliver their draft presentations. They will receive constructive criticism on how to improve their presentations for the finals.  Feedback will be provided by volunteers drawn from the HGCF faculty advisors.

Advisory Meeting Once over the course of the next year the finalists, judges, and interested faculty advisors will meet to review the companies' progress and offer fresh advice and support.  The exact date & time of these events will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

About our Judges:

* Denise Dukette - Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund
* Paul Gelinas - River Valley Investors
* Vin Cardillo - River Valley Investors, Launchpad Venture Group
* Al Griggs - River Valley Investors
* Glenn Hanson - River Valley Investors
* John Kole - River Valley Investors
* Karen Ribeiro - Bank of Western Massachusetts

Quick Descriptions of our Finalists' Companies:

1.Auto Scout is a service business where the customer fills out specifications for the vehicle they desire, and Auto Scout goes to “dealer-only” auctions to purchase the vehicle for the best possible price for the client.

2.Engineered Response is a business-concept developing a crash activated emergency beacon that can be used in all helmets. Preliminary funding has bee secured through competitions and investors. The technology currently has a patent pending and a proof of concept prototype is soon to be complete. The invention has been highly publicized, and there has been contact with helmet manufacturers.

3.FEAST is a local food delivery service, offering consumers a way to eat locally and providing farmers with an expanded market.  Customers will be able to choose from local meat, dairy, grains, produce, and prepared meals, delivered from a vegetable oil-powered truck.

4.Golden Cordial Co. creates quality liqueurs, utilizing the healing properties of plants, in order to promote pleasure, happiness, and health. It is important to us to use sustainable and ethically grown ingredients that support family farms, enhance local economies, and promote a healthy environment.

5.Micro Tissues – selling scientific tools to the international biomedical research community and big pharmaceutical companies. Our main product is the three dimensional (3D) tissue culture dish or 3D Petri dish. Our 3D tissue culture dish is made of agarose, a natural product derived from seaweed. Micro Tissues, Inc. plans on becoming the leader in 3D tissue culture products by offering the most superior and effective technology. Micro Tissues, Inc. as a business is still in the concept stage, but as for the 3D tissue culture product that we will be offering it is real and a patent application has been filed. At this time, we are seeking interested investors for this breakthrough technology.


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