Three Collegiate Teams Win Cash Awards from Connecticut Innovations

 Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for technology investing and innovation development, today announced that it will award $10,000 in cash prizes to help launch three technology business concepts presented recently at the Spring 2010 You Belong in Connecticut Collegiate Business Plan Competition. The CI cash awards, presented in the Best Technology Business Plans category, will go to:

• SilviaTerra – Yale University and Yale School of Forestry ($5,000). • Shizzlr – University of Connecticut School of Business ($3,000). • Green Splinter Company – University of Bridgeport School of Engineering ($2,000).

“The business plan competition is intended to encourage students to formally develop their business plans and take the initial steps to launch their businesses in Connecticut,” said Charlie Moret, managing director of business development for CI. “CI is particularly interested in the technology-oriented business plans, and by awarding cash prizes to the top tech teams and working with them under our Pre-Seed Support Services Program, we can help cultivate promising startup ventures.”

The Spring 2010 You Belong in Connecticut Collegiate Business Plan Competition was held at the New Haven Lawn Club on April 23, 2010. Over 100 business plans were received from student management teams from colleges and universities around the state. A judging panel reviewed the submissions and selected 15 finalists. On April 23, the finalists, who hailed from eight Connecticut colleges and universities, delivered three-minute multimedia presentations to a second panel of judges. CI’s cash prize winners were selected from this group of finalists.

SilviaTerra, a business concept conceived by a team from Yale University and Yale School of Forestry and presented by team leader Max Uhlenhuth, a Yale College sophomore, will use remote sensing and satellite imagery to quickly and accurately assess forest inventories for its customers – large forest owners. (Photo available here. Caption available here.)

Shizzlr will be a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company offering an online social planning tool to help college students gather and organize information about social events, gatherings and activities. The business concept was presented by team leader and company co-founder Keith Bessette, a second-year MBA candidate at the University of Connecticut School of Business. (Photo available here. Caption available here.)

Green Splinter Company will sell a composite board, produced from recycled agricultural waste, that will offer builders and homeowners a stronger, more eco-friendly option for interior walls and ceilings compared to wooden molded panels and drywall. This business concept was presented by Jawahar Ponnuswami, a textile technologist who is also a candidate for a Master of Science degree in technology and management at the University of Bridgeport School of Engineering. (Photo available here. Caption available here.)

The You Belong in Connecticut Collegiate Business Plan Competition, now is its twelfth year, is administered by the Entrepreneurship Foundation with support from Connecticut Innovations, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, LaunchCapital and Warbros Venture Partners.

About Connecticut Innovations, Inc. Connecticut Innovations (CI) is a quasi-public organization dedicated to driving a vibrant, entrepreneurial, technology-based economy in Connecticut. CI stimulates high-tech growth by investing in: early-stage Connecticut technology companies, university/industry research collaborations, technology transfer, and clean energy initiatives through the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. CI also fosters collaboration among government, business, nonprofit and academic organizations to advance technology growth and promotes public policies consistent with CI’s mission. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

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