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March 12, 2024 | Tom Ballard

U News | Competitions are heating up

The University of Central Florida's Business Incubation Program has launched a new partnership with the HungarianHub that builds on its Soft Landing Program.

From the University of Louisville:

Fourteen teams from five colleges from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky recently competed in the “Intercollegiate Business Pitch Competition” held at the University of Louisville. The event is part of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs.

The team competed in two different categories: an Exploratory Track, for early stage business ideas, and the Developed Track, for businesses closer to being launched or already operating.

Exploratory Track Winners:

  • First place: NanoMed Adaptive Technologies, University of Kentucky – $5,000.
  • Second place: SmileFile, University of Louisville – $3,500.
  • Third place: R.A.M. Devices, University of Kentucky – $1,500.

Developed Track Winners:

  • First place: LODE, University of Louisville – $15,000.
  • Second place: Perfect Pressure Washing, Northern Kentucky University – $7,000.
  • Third place (Tie): Bloom Bakery, Sullivan University – $3,000, and Chez, University of Louisville – $3,000.

From Rice University:

The 2024 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) has announced the 42 start-ups that will compete for more than $1 million in prizes April 4-6 at Rice University in Houston, TX.

Hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and the Jones Graduate School of Business, the event that is now in its 24th year brings together the best student ventures from top universities across the world to compete for prizes in front of more than 350 angel, venture capital and corporate investors and members of the business community.

Four current or soon-to-be Southeastern Conference schools placed teams in this year’s competition. They are:

  • OX SOX, University of Georgia;
  • Palanquin Power, University of Texas at Austin;
  • Paradigm Robotics, also University of Texas at Austin; and
  • ProPika, University of Arkansas.

From the University of Central Florida:

The University’s Business Incubation Program has worked with hundreds of businesses to help them establish their company in the U.S. and the Orlando area through its Soft Landing Program.

Now, the Incubation Program is launching a new partnership with the HungarianHub, a nonprofit furthering collaboration and investment between Hungary and the country with a goal of significantly bolstering the pipeline of businesses expanding into Central Florida from Hungary and visa versa. Moving forward, the goal will be to build connections with emerging markets that have rapidly growing clusters of tech companies but have traditionally not been a focus of economic development efforts.

At the center of the partnership is the USA Accelerator project, which for the past few years, has been operated out of Hungary by the HungarianHub, including launching the Hungarian Summit in 2020 in Budapest. The event has alternated between Daytona Beach and Hungary every year. In 2022, the Summit attracted nearly 200 attendees to Daytona Beach.

At this year’s Summit, being held on May 23-24, attendees will hear from Hungarian and U.S. economic development officials, business leaders and international trade experts along with breakout sessions specifically designed to bring the country’s economic development organizations. The event focuses on four broad topics: business, education, community and culture.

This year, the USA Accelerator will be adding a three-day boot camp just before the Summit that will use many of the resources in the University of Central Florida Incubator’s Soft Landing Program. During that boot camp, 10 to 15 Hungarian companies will experience an immersive education on how to expand in Central Florida. They will have a day in Orange County, a day in Seminole County, and a day in Volusia County.

From Miami University:

Another week, another announcement from Miami University. This time its is a $1 million gift from the  John W. Altman Charitable Foundation to the University’s John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship.

According to the announcement, the gift will be matched dollar for dollar by the Farmer Family Foundation via its matching gift support of the Farmer School of Business. The gift will provide critical support for the Institute in terms of curricular and co-curricular programming.  Highlights from the program include the annual Star-tup Weekend and RedHawk Venture Pitch Competition.

From Miami University and the University of Cincinnati:

Start-ups from the two universities were among the winners of Main Street Ventures’ 2024 “Launch It: Cincy” program.

The nonprofit’s pitch competition is designed exclusively for founders who are currently undergraduate students in the Greater Cincinnati region. Last month, five finalist student teams pitched their companies to a panel of judges, and the winners were PhizzIO, Silux, and the Recipe Book.

According to a report in Cincy Inno, two of the three winners came from the University of Cincinnati and Miami University. The third was a students at the University of Dayton.

Each team was awarded a prize package valued at more than $28,000.


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