Tough Job Market Is Driving College Grads Toward Entrepreneurial Career Paths

Rising numbers of MBA students are using business competitions as a launching point for careers in entrepreneurism and business ownership.


(Image Credit: Margan Zajdowicz)

As college students find it increasingly difficult to land a job after graduation, many grads are opting for less traditional career opportunities.

Leveraging business competitions like the Tulane Business Plan competition, more and more college grads are refining their business plans and accessing the startup capital it takes to launch their own businesses.

“We are seeing more and more students looking to start businesses around the globe. Our competition gives aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to jump start the growth of their venture,” says Tulane Entrepreneurs’ Association (TEA) President Court Robinson.

“Our goal is to continue to grow the competition by focusing on the principles of conscious capitalism. We believe that students are more dedicated than ever to creating businesses that align the interests of all stakeholders.”

The 12th Annual Tulane Business Plan Competition is a unique competition. It focuses specifically on conscious capitalism and awards $50,000 to the company that creates the best sustainable business model. This year’s competition will feature a record number of applicants and will include the participation of more than 120 regional industry professionals and business leaders.

“Since the focus is on conscious capitalism, businesses making a difference in the world, we get a high number of quality entries in our competition,” said Matt Schwartz, co-founder of The Domain Companies, a key sponsor of the event.

One of last year’s winners, Kickboard (formerly known as Drop the Chalk, a company that creates web-based software that helps teachers use data to improve student performance) leveraged the competition to launch into the education technology market.

“For me, winning the Domain competition validated my business model which not only further motivated me, but also served as great signal to external investors,” says Kickboard CEO Jen Medbery. “Plus, I wanted to stay in New Orleans because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the city. I could do that thanks to the TEA and Domain. Instead of grinding the pavement looking for jobs that may not exist, I have nurtured my own idea in helping struggling students.”

Other successful start-ups that participated in the TEA and Domain competitions include, America’s first person-to-business lending company; Pathostat, LLC, which has developed a patent-pending medical device that excises cancerous tissue during cancer surgery; and OsComp Systems, which is awaiting patent approval for technology that reduces operating and capital costs of compression in natural gas.

The Tulane Business Plan Competition registration is open and looking for applicants. The deadline to apply at is January, 22, 2012. The competition is open to teams of early stage ventures or new venture ideas. Members of the team can be post-graduate professionals, but each team must have at least one student enrolled at an accredited university. Applicants are welcome from across the world.

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