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Finalists to present plans for new businesses at entrepreneurship summit


BLACKSBURG, Va., March 24, 2010 – VT KnowledgeWorks announces five student teams and five entrepreneurs selected to present in the Student and Open Business Concept Competitions on April 7 in conjunction with the Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit at The Inn at Virginia Tech.

They will present their business concepts before a panel of angel investors, and business leaders, as well as Summit attendees. Participation for the Student and Open Competition was encouraged throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and western North Carolina.

The student teams from will present their business concepts at 10 a.m. and compete for a $5,000 cash prize and workspace in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center for summer 2010.

The teams are mapMonkeys, created by Virginia Tech students Wade Hammes of Roanoke, a senior in management in the Pamplin College of Business; Rishi Ishairzay of Centreville, a junior in computer science in the College of Engineering; and Pushpit Thohan of Leesburg, a sophomore in chemical engineering in the College of Engineering, to provide information to gamers; Eco-Health Cube, an air purifier that uses solar ultraviolet light to sterilize air for buildings with high person-to-person contact, invented by Jashaun Carter, Larrishia Jacobs, and Ardarion Richardson of North Carolina A&T State University; and three teams from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia: Nomuda Games, which is developing story-based games for mobile platforms, created by Joe Chard and Jacob Richardson; PattonsList.com, designed by Steven Cunningham and Mike Fallon, to provide the ability to share information, join community networks, buy and sell goods, and review local services based a user’s military location; and UltraGenome LLC, by Rahul Ranjan to aid in cancer diagnosis.

The competition encouraged students to develop their entrepreneurial ideas, enhance their understanding of the requirements for a successful business venture, and showcase the creativity of students in Virginia and western North Carolina.

The finalist entrepreneurs who will present their businesses at 2 p.m. in the Open Business Concept Competition are Anne Giles Clelland of Blacksburg, who heads Handshake 2.0, a business news, public relations, and business development site; Fred Cook of Blacksburg, who is starting Actifity.com to track the healthy activities you perform; Amjad Hussein of Dubai, a major in business information technology in Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, who is developing CollabKode, which allows access to hosted projects from any device with internet access; Bob Giles of Blacksburg, professor emeritus of fisheries and wildlife sciences, who will introduce RRx, Web-based software for land and natural resource management; and Kelly Queijo of Blacksburg, founder of Smart College Visit Inc., a college visit travel planning website.

The Open Competition provides entrepreneurs who are starting a business a forum to test their business concepts and receive feedback from leaders in the entrepreneurial community. The winning concept will receive a customized suite of business acceleration services at VT KnowledgeWorks, as well as workspace provided in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center for summer 2010.

Because of the generous sponsorship of LeClairRyan, Synchrony, and SunTrust Bank, the fees for this two-day event including workshops, competitions, luncheon, and seminars are only $30 for April 7 and $50 for April 8. Registration is available online. Also, visit the website to learn about the finalists and how businesses can exhibit at the Technology Showcase on April 7 and 8. Contact Lindsey Eversole for details at (540) 443-9100.

In conjunction with the VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Summit, the NewVa Corridor Technology Council (NCTC) will host its annual TechNite Awards Banquet on the evening of April 7 at The Inn at Virginia Tech. NCTC’s TechNite Awards Banquet is an annual celebration of the NewVa region’s technology community and an opportunity to network with more than 300 leaders in business and innovation. For more information and to register, visit their website or call (540) 443-9232.

VT KnowledgeWorks is a unique growth enhancement program open to entrepreneurs in the New River Valley and beyond. Acceleration center and incubation facilities are located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. Programs for members are divided into two categories according to the evolutionary status of the member company. Pre-launch program components are carefully constructed to help market-worthy ventures organize, formulate strategy, obtain outside investment, and launch in an efficient manner. Enterprise class members benefit from emphasis on strategic support for ongoing growth, continuing intra-preneurship, and professional development for the corporate leader.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain Inc., BB&T, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry P.C., Hutchison Law Group, LeClairRyan, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and The Becher Agency (TBA).

Written by Lindsey Eversole, VT Knowledgeworks.