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Illinois Adds to Award Money for New Venture Challenge Winners

Students who won the 2006 Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge earned more prize money than their counterparts over the past decade thanks to additional award funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

In addition to splitting $50,000 in prize money from Chicago GSB, the top winners will share a $25,000 supplemental award from DCEO for locating the business in Illinois.

Tied for first place was Collectica, an online resource for collectors, and GrubHub, an online restaurant delivery guide, who will both receive $17,500 from the NVC competition. Hybridtronics, Inc., a company promoting hybrid vehicle technology for trucks and buses in Asia, received third place and $10,000. The fourth place prize went to Identity Corporation, a hair salon and day spa for professional African-American women, which received $5,000.

Additionally, Collectica and GrubHub will receive $7,500 each, while Hybridtronics and Identity Corporation will receive $5,000 each from DCEO.

The four teams were among nine finalists who emerged from the original field of 55 teams that submitted business plans last fall.

“This is the most diverse set of presentations I’ve ever heard,” said Edward Kaplan, ’70, who granted seed money 10 years ago for the annual business plan competition. The chairman and CEO of Zebra Technologies, who was among speakers at the award ceremony and anniversary dinner at the Hyde Park Center, will extend his support until 2012.

The competition has only grown stronger over the past 10 years, especially as the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship has gained renown, Kaplan said. “We’ve gone from nothing to a clear leadership position in what is taught about entrepreneurship.”

DCEO director Jack Lavin, AM ’90, MBA ’90, agreed. “Where the GSB has gone in the past 10 years is tremendous,” he said. “It has turned into an engine of the future.”

— Carmen Marti