Competing for the chance to win $100,000 in start-up funding, a team of five Maharishi University of Management students was selected as one of six finalists out of 25 entries in a 10-state clean technology business plan competition, thanks to the strong pitch and marketing plan they created for an innovative solar hot water heater developed by Fairfield inventor Joel Price.
Maharishi University of Management MBA students Vinodthan Nayagar, Matthew Lindberg-Work, and Wu Bo were joined in the second phase of the project by Maharishi University of Management (MUM) MBA student Michael Blitz, an experienced entrepreneur.
Colorado University’s Cleantech New Venture Challenge is a student-focused business plan competition for the Western MidWest region, which includes Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. The competition is part of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition focused on increasing clean energy businesses coming out of universities and national labs as well as creating a new generation of entrepreneurs to serve the nation’s energy mission. ~CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge
The goal of the competition was to have participants create business plans that met the Department of Energy mission of:
- enhancing energy efficiency and productivity
- bringing clean, reliable, and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace
The students’ competition submission, which included an executive summary and 5-minute video, highlighted the extraordinary features of the new solar hot water heater, which costs less than half of competing products while having one-sixth the weight. Called the Cottonwood Collector, it uses a provisionally patented polymer design that can be easily shipped, easily installed, and custom-shaped so that it can aesthetically blend with buildings.
The team was invited to an all expenses paid trip to the University of Colorado in Boulder for the finals, which entailed giving a 30-minute pitch session in front of an audience and judges, followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session. Although the students didn’t win, Mr. Price said they made a number of great contacts, several of whom expressed interest in furthering or licensing the technology. They were also encouraged by the judges to enter the Clean Tech Open.
The judging of the business plans was based on:
- the nature of the product or service
- market analysis
- market strategy
- profitability for investors
- viability and sustainability
“It was very interesting and entailed a lot of research into the market,” said Maharishi University of Management MBA student Mr. Nayagar. “I enjoyed the experience of presenting our business model in front of venture capitalists as it gave me an understanding of how they really do business.”
|Anna Bruen is a MUM alumna who graduated with a degree in Sustainable Living. Anna is the resident blogger here at MUM. To learn more about Anna take a look at her introduction post.|