Purdue, Notre Dame, IEDC Join Efforts on State Nanotechnology Business Plan Competition

Author: Julie Hail Flory


The University of Notre Dame and Purdue University are teaming up with state officials to offer Indiana’s first business plan competition targeting startup ventures and emerging companies in nanotechnology.

The Nanotechnology New Ventures Competition, scheduled for March 25, 2011, will offer prizes totaling $57,000 to the top researchers or entrepreneurs developing novel technologies or services based in nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology involves making devices on the atomic and molecular level with applications in computer, medical, military and even textile industries. Annual sales of products and services using nanotechnology are estimated to hit $1 trillion worldwide by 2015, and Indiana’s political and educational leaders think the state can gain a significant share of that economic growth.

“This competition is designed to foster research in the nanotechnology arena moving from the laboratory as intellectual property into the marketplace,” said event co-organizer Richard Cosier, the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director Designate of Purdue’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and the Leeds Professor of Management.

“In doing so, this competition joins the spirit of discovery with delivery by stimulating entrepreneurship opportunities and growing a nano-related industry for Indiana. If you are a researcher who has developed a novel technology or service based in nanotechnology, this competition is for you.”

In addition to providing a showcase for some of Purdue and Notre Dame’s most promising research in nanotechnology, the competition will highlight interdisciplinary collaboration needed to find the most impactful market applications and build commercialization plans for those technologies.

“This inaugural competition provides a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs working in a cutting-edge technology field to draw on the deep expertise of business experts in developing a viable business plan,” said Carolyn Y. Woo, the Martin J. Gillen Dean of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.

“The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Notre Dame is pleased to partner with Purdue to provide participants with access to this expertise and to a network of investors interested in nanotechnology ventures,” Woo added.

Joining Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and Purdue as competition organizers are the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and the state of Indiana’s Midwest Institute of Nanoelectronics Discovery, an initiative known as MIND that was launched in March 2008.

The alliance involves Notre Dame, Purdue, the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative of the Semiconductor Research Corp., the state of Indiana, the City of South Bend, Argonne National Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. Other university partners are the University of Illinois, Pennsylvania State University and University of Michigan.

Those involved with the competition hope it spurs other parallel efforts across the Midwest, to capitalize on the research being done at the renowned institutions in the region, with an eye toward broader economic development efforts.

“One of the most exciting aspects of this competition is not just the interdisciplinary collaboration inherent in the projects themselves, but the fact that multiple institutions in Indiana are working together,” said Laura Hollis, director of the Gigot Center. “For the Midwest to regain and keep competitive advantage in the development of new companies, our institutions of higher education and our state governments need to go beyond state geographical boundaries, and think regionally about the resources we have available to high-tech entrepreneurs.”

Contestants must be affiliated with the state of Indiana through a public or private university/college, or another state-supported agency/organization. The competition for the selected finalists will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at Purdue’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121, in Discovery Park.

The five finalists who are selected to present before the panel of expert judges in March will compete for the top prize of $30,000, $15,000 for second place, $10,000 for third place, and $1,000 each for the fourth- and fifth-place finishers.

Registration will continue online through Dec. 6 at nanotechindiana.com.

For those interested in participating, free workshops for registrants on how to create a viable business plan are set for Oct. 29 from 9 to 11 a.m. in Purdue’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121, and Nov. 30 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Room 161. Participation is voluntary but strongly encouraged.

Executive summaries are due by Dec. 21, and semifinalists will be announced Jan. 21, 2011. Participants must submit their final business plans by Feb. 24, and finalists will be notified March 15 to prepare for formally presenting their ideas at the March 25 competition at Purdue.

“Individuals are not required to have highly developed business plans to participate,” said James Cooper, interim director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Jai N. Gupta Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Cosier. “It is recognized that the field of nanotechnology itself is in the early stages of development. The market potential of nano products and services will be a major factor in the judges’ decisions about the selection of winners.”

The Nanotechnology New Ventures Competition will coincide with a program focused on the future of nanotechnology research. The program will include a keynote speaker, faculty presentations, a reception with judges and investors, and an awards dinner.

Attendees of the Nanotechnology New Ventures Competition also will be able to tour Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center, a facility in Discovery Park that opened to researchers in 2004. In fiscal year 2009, Purdue ranked No. 1 among all U.S. universities in the number of nanotechnology science and engineering research grants from the federal government, and second in the dollar amount of such grants.

Contact: Richard Cosier, 765-494-4366, rcosier@purdue.edu; Carolyn Woo, 574-631-7992, Carolyn.Y.Woo.5@nd.edu; Laura Hollis, Notre Dame Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, 574-631-3543, “lhollis@nd.edu”;mailto:lhollis@nd.edu; Candiss Vibbert, Purdue Discovery Park Engagement, 765-494-9404, vibbert@purdue.edu; Karen Slaggert, Notre Dame Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, 574-631-2714, kslaggert@nd.edu

Originally published by Carol Elliott and Phillip Fiorini at newsinfo.nd.edu on October 25, 2010.