During 2012, NCET will be holding the 8th annual Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition. But that’s not the news. The news is that Nevada’s college and university students can now enter FIVE additional college business plan competitions, each offering prizes, experience, business skills and the chance to actually launch their businesses.
When I started at NCET in 2006, the Governor’s Cup competition was the only college business plan competition in town. Just six years later, Nevada’s college and university students can enter business plan competitions at Truckee Meadows Community College, Sierra Nevada College, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and new for 2012, the Sontag Entrepreneurship Award Competition at the University of Nevada, Reno. In addition, the US Department of Energy is conducting the “FLoW” competition for energy-related business plans. Collectively, these competitions offer over $400,000 in cash prizes.
Each of these competitions teach Nevada’s college and university students important skills in business planning, team building, public speaking, along with many other valuable skills. And, the competitions give them an opportunity to win cash prizes and / or bragging rights, and prepare them to go on to compete in a wide range of national competitions.
Equally important, the winning teams often go on to start their businesses. This is very important for Nevada, given the economic challenges our State. These students, armed with the feedback provided by their faculty advisors, judges and mentors, and bankrolled with their cash prizes, gain a significant head start in opening their businesses. In the last few years, for example, Bumblebee Blooms has opened in downtown Reno, and Tiki Ice is now carried in Albertsons and Whole Food stores.
With all of this in mind, NCET is getting ready for this year’s Governor’s Cup competition. New for 2012, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has raised the cash prize pool to $142,000, including $10,000 for the Lt. Governor’s Award for the business plan that best employs clean, renewable or efficient energy technologies and services. Student registration for the Governor’s Cup is open through February 22, business plans are due March 21, with oral presentations delivered April 17 and the awards ceremony on April 18.
So, if you’re a student, I strongly urge you to participate. If you know a college student, please encourage them to be part of the program. The rewards are tremendous!
Once again, NCET will be looking for judges, mentors, and sponsors to help support this important program, which to date has awarded nearly $800,000 in cash prizes to Nevada’s students and their faculty advisors. For more information on how you can help, or for information on any of these business plan competitions, please visit www.NCETgovcup.org or contact NCET at info@NCET.org or (775) 853-4226.