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Monday, February 09, 2015 at 4pm

Startup Comp Shortlist Announced at the Wharton School: MBA News

Business plan competition at the Wharton School

An annual business plan competition held at the Wharton School has reached the semifinal stage, with the announcement of 25 shortlisted startup ventures.

The 25, selected from an original total of 175 submissions from across the University of Pennsylvania, include entries from both first and second-year MBA students of the Wharton School, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. As an added note of interest, the student news source holds that more than a third of the 175 startup ventures concern themselves with questions of social impact in their business plan.

Startup ventures at various development stages compete

One example of an entry with a social slant came from Neil Vangala and Rishi Reddy, first-year MBAs at the Wharton School. Their business plan for KidFoods is still in its nascent stages, but is intended to carve out a niche in the food delivery market by concentrating solely on providing children with easy-to-produce, yet healthy, meals.

The two MBAs are using the business plan competition to channel their respective backgrounds in private equity and healthcare technology, and turn their idea into a viable proposition.  

Other shortlisted startup ventures are much further down the development line. My Best Friend’s Weekend, for example, launched last summer and can already lay claim to 35 customers who have utilized its bachelorette party planning service. Its second-year MBA cofounders say that success in the Wharton Business Plan Competition would be put towards growth, as a cash prize would allow them to bolster their advertising budget.

Business plan competition co-managed by MBAs

The Wharton Business Plan Competition was launched by a student entrepreneurship club at the Wharton School in 1998, and is still largely run by a student committee made up of a number of first-year MBAs. First prize is US$30,000 in cash alongside a minimum of US$5,000 of legal or accounting services provided by sponsors.

Last year’s winner was an Android app, developed by Wharton MBAs, that reverses customary trends by paying its users.  Slidejoy users are said to receive between US$5 and US$15 a month to view full-screen adverts each time they unlock their phone, and to have their preferences monitored accordingly.

Startup ventures shortlisted for this year’s competition will now submit a full business plan by the end of the month before pitching to a judging panel in March. Eight finalists will compete for first place at the end of April.

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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