UW-Madison: Burrill Competition To Focus On Security, Sustainable Energy Issues

CONTACT: Rebecca Smith, (608) 263-9298, [email protected]

MADISON – From sustainable energy sources for developing countries to affordable unmanned aerial security vehicles, student entrepreneurs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are creating solutions for today’s most challenging problems.

More than 40 students in 12 cross-functional teams from the UW-Madison School of Business, College of Engineering and other disciplines across campus are participating in the G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition held on Friday, April 21 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in Grainger Hall. The annual contest offers a $10,000 first-place prize to the student team with the best technology-based business venture.

Entries for the 2006 competition include:

• Tools for testing cellular responses to drugs and chemicals;

• An innovative oil and gas field pump;

• A system using heart signals in biometric identification;

• Online identity protection advancements;

• Affordable unmanned aerial vehicles for security missions;

• Web-enabled security devices and neighborhood watch;

• A plasma reactor that decontaminates mail and packages;

• A system to produce briquettes for energy in developing countries.

“Entrepreneurship leads to innovation-it answers questions and provides solutions,” says Anne Miner, School of Business professor and director of the Burrill competition. “This event provides students the opportunity to come together and create answers to society’s most challenging problems. It is incredibly exciting to see these young minds develop the next generation of innovative business ideas.”

Since its inception eight years ago, nearly 200 students have participated in the final competition, while more than a thousand students more over the years have attended competition seminars and workshops to develop their business planning expertise. Using the knowledge they acquire and working in interdisciplinary teams of two or more people, students develop and present a technology-based business plan to a panel of judges made up of community leaders and entrepreneurs. Winning ideas have included plans to market and sell products such as personal finance software, bindings for wake boards, and bio-genetic information.

Several teams have leveraged the knowledge, experience and exposure gained from the competition to form successful new business ventures. BusinessWeek and other national media have recently recognized competition alumni for their entrepreneurial successes.

For more information about the competition, visit http://www.bus.wisc.edu/burrill. The Web site includes a short video about the event and information on part participants and their resulting business ventures.

The competition is named for sponsor G. Steven Burrill, a longtime supporter of student innovation and technological entrepreneurship. Burrill is CEO of Burrill & Company in San Francisco. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the UW-Madison School of Business in 1966.