C2V Business Plan Competition - Transforming Concepts into Business Ventures (and Adventures too!)

If you’re familiar with the show Shark Tank, you can get an idea of what it was like at the 2013 UIC Concept2Ventures (C2V) Business Plan Competition on December 16-17. The C2V Challenge is an opportunity to pitch a business idea win cash prizes. A total of $10,000 was awarded to winning teams.

Teams are placed into different tracks to present to a panel of distinguished judges. Our judges include serial entrepreneurs, industry professionals, and investors. One winner from each track advances to the finals. All teams return for the Elevator Pitch competition. All finalist teams compete for the grand prize. The C2V Challenge is open to both undergraduate and graduate students from any of UIC’s 15 colleges which showcase the entrepreneurial spirit present throughout the university.

The following C2V Participants competing in the Graduate/Alumni/Faculty division included UIC Liautaud graduate students, alumni as well as students from the CMBA program:

GRAND PRIZE WINNER NuFortis – a technology services firm offering the next generation Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) solution, based on a patented algorithm to the civil infrastructure industry

NuFortisBrittany Chibe, Jason Rebello, Flor Fernandez

System Science Corporation – capitalizes on the underserved market of real-time diagnostics for the treatment of Hydrocephalus System Science Corp
Vasiliki Thomeas, Alex Cross, Catherine Gildea
FINALIST savvo digital sommelier solutions – an in-aisle wine recommending kiosk that matches shoppers with the right wine for them at the point of purchase savvo
Joseph Sheahan, Dominic Blank, Oscar Yau, Kiran Kripakaran, Dan Speers, Emil Barci, Samson Poon
FINALIST Windy City Roots – a social enterprise serving Chicago’s Austin community where we provide access to locally grown produce while creating job opportunities for “locally grown” youth Windy City Roots
Dan Hogan
SEMI-FINALIST SpEC Technologies – a firm with solutions to solve the major problems plaguing fast-changing technologies in the electric vehicle industry SpEC
Steve Collin, Tarun Awasthi, PJ Klapperich
SEMI-FINALIST Silver Exposure – Innovative, large scale green production process of antimicrobial silver nanoparticles Silver Exposure
Darcy Phillips, Neeta Venepalli, Jon Contreras,
Christopher Anetekhai
SEMI-FINALIST ToBe – a neighborhood oriented social and service hub Xiaobo Yu, Yan Liu (Echo), Chu-Chu Tung(True) ToBe
Xiaobo Yu, Yan Liu (Echo), Chu-Chu Tung(True)


C2V Participant, Vasiliki Thomeas (System Science Corp), shared that through this experience, she’s been able to network with people highly involved in the entrepreneurial community and she appreciated the opportunity working with everyone and receiving support and mentorship through stories and advice. We asked Vasiliki if she would recommend participating in the C2V to her classmates, and her response was “It’s an experience that will bond you and your classmates – an experience you will never forget!” She mentions that the C2V experience was transformational and adds, “preparing for the C2V has taught me a lot about myself and what I’ve learned will only help me in the future.”

Since a major part of the C2V competition involves pitching ideas through presentations and elevator speeches, many of the Liautaud graduate students have also put into practice what they’ve learned in the MBA 590 “Improv & Leadership” course. Basically MBA 590 raises student’s soft skills to the level of their hard skills, or at least gets them closer. According to Lecturer Michael Popowitz, who often teaches that course, “Professional presence without expertise just makes you slick, but even expert skills without professional presence makes you ineffective.” Jason Rebello, from the NuFortis winning team, took the MBA 590 course and expressed that he had an “immense appreciation” for what he learned in that class and was able to apply some techniques during the C2V competition.

So, what’s next now that the competition is over? Many of the students will continue to participate in more business plan competitions across the nation, and as Vasiliki says, “more entrepreneurship courses!”

We are very proud of our winners and want to congratulate all the students who decided to embark on the entrepreneurial journey and participate in the C2V competition this year!