Cambridge, Mass., May 14, 2003 — As a start-up business you couldn't pick a better advisory panel than the group of judges that preside over the MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition. More than 75 companies have been started over this student business plan competition's 14 years. So what is the best advice of this group of veteran venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and lawyers for fledgling businesses?
“Don't be deterred by the current economic climate,” said $50K Judge Jon Gworek, partner at the law firm Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, P.C. “Good news comes with the bad. Money may be difficult to come by, but other resources are very much available. Seasoned executive level people who are in-between opportunities and can be added to your team, real estate is cheaper than it has been in years, and lawyers, accountants and others are much more accessible.”
“While many students find it useful to first cut their teeth in an established company before starting their own venture, there's no doubt that entrepreneurs who are waiting for a better economy are losing out on crucial start-up time,” said Richard Schmalensee, dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management. “If this is the right market timing for your idea, get moving.”
The judges' tips showed a heavy dose of “mind your market.” Here, in no particular order, are the MIT $50K judges' top 10 pieces of advice for start-ups.
And as one judge said,
With this list, you're on your way.
The MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition's mission is to produce tomorrow's leading firms. It will hold its final awards on May 14 at 7pm in Kresge Auditorium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On that evening, a grand prize winner and 2 runners up will be chosen out of a field of 118 entering teams. The winning teams will split the $50,000 prize which they can use to launch their new companies. Successful alumni companies include: Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM), Direct Hit Technologies (acquired by Ask Jeeves), Lexicus (acquired by Motorola), Sensable Technologies, Webline Communications, NetGenesis (acquired by SPSS), Silicon Spice (acquired by Broadcom), and Harmonix.
Armina Karapetyan, $50K Communications Lead
Kathleen Rowe, MIT Sloan Media Relations
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