A new group of potential student entrepreneurs at the University of the Virgin Islands will be vying for approximately $80,000 in business seed funding cash and in-kind services during the final round of the 13D Student Entrepreneurship Competition on Friday, May 3. This final stage of the 2013 competition, which began last fall, takes place in the first-floor conference room of UVI's Administration and Conference Center on the St. Thomas campus.
Eight teams, whittled down from an initial 109 students in 15 teams, will make their final presentations to a panel of judges beginning at 9 a.m. The three winning teams will be announced in the afternoon. The first-place team receives $30,000 to help fund its business idea. Second- and third-place teams will receive $20,000 and $10,000, respectively. Additional in-kind support in marketing, legal services, printing, web design and more will also be made available to the winning teams. UVI Competition Coordinator Dr. Glenn Metts said the day is going to be exciting for the students. "It's going to be high stakes, with a lot of drama," he said. The teams will be pitching ideas for a diverse range of businesses from natural skin care products, to shrimp farming and solar systems.
A highlight of this year's final round will be the presentation of awards to the top three teams in the first-ever 13D Student High School Competition. The high school competition concluded in April, with final presentations and judging taking place at UVI on St. Thomas and St. Croix. Members of the top three high school teams, who still do not know who won the top prize, will be on hand to view the UVI students' morning presentations.
The award ceremony for the high school competition takes place at 1 p.m. The first place team wins $1,000. Second and third place teams will be awarded $500 and $250, respectively. Each team member will also receive an iPad Mini tablet. An engraved, first-place trophy will be placed in the winning team's school.
Students from all public and private high schools in the territory were invited to join in the competition. Five teams made it to the final competition, including those from Central, Educational Complex and Good Hope on St. Croix and Charlotte Amalie and Antilles on St. Thomas.
"We have five really good proposals," Dr. Metts told the audience of students, parents and friends at that competition's final round. He said the high school competition is part of the phased expansion of UVI's entrepreneurship effort in the territory. "This is an annual competition," Dr. Metts said. "And I anticipate a substantial increase in participation as time goes on."
The student entrepreneurship competitions were made possible by a $5 million gift to UVI from investment strategist and entrepreneur Kiril Sokoloff, the founder of 13D Research on St. Croix. The gift supports both 13D Student Entrepreneurship Competitions, a Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship Endowed Chair and the Entrepreneurial Speaker Series at UVI. The first college-level 13D Student Entrepreneurship Competition concluded in May, 2012. Click to see the first 13D competition winners. The first presentation in the speaker series was made in March by acclaimed business woman and philanthropist Loida Nicolas.
For more information contact Dr. Glenn Metts, an associate professor of management who directs entrepreneurship education at UVI, at (340) 693-1303.