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Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
September 28, 2021 | Tom Ballard

SMU revamps its former “Business Plan Competition,” launches “Business Accelerator Program”

The student-led Cox Graduate Entrepreneurship Club at Southern Methodist University (SMU) has announced the launch of its “Business Accelerator Program.”

The revamped programming resulted from conversations with past winners of the University’s former “Business Plan Competition,” who nearly unanimously said they wished they had more hands-on support from mentors and exposure to more potential investors.

Applicants to the six-month program will be whittled down to five to 10 entrepreneurs, who will then participate in a couple of workshops before taking part in a 90-second elevator pitch competition. From there, three Tier I ideas will be selected and receive $10,000 in non-diluted funding.

The balance of the competitors will be placed on Tier II. After that, participants in both groups will be partnered with mentors in their industry and work to develop a network and viable business plan. The program will culminate in a business launch competition with at least $50,000 up for grabs.

SMU graduate and undergraduate students are eligible to apply. The program has also been extended to alumni who graduated in the last 13 months since last year’s competition was cancelled amid the pandemic.

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