Team of Terry College MBAs wins $10,000 Business Plan Competition at Indiana University; Earns Berth

ATHENS, Ga. — A team of MBA students from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business developed the winning business plan to take the $10,000 first prize at Indiana University’s annual “Spirit of Enterprise” Competition, held Feb. 21 at the Kelley School of Business in Bloomington, Ind.

The team’s plan for CarePoint Professional Employees LLC is to operate as a “professional employer organization” (PEO) for small- to medium-sized medical clinics and doctor’s offices, allowing them to outsource their personnel and practice management for a fee and eliminate the hassles of managing payroll, employee benefits and human resources. CarePoint also would assist medical clinics and physicians with medical billing, third-party payer negotiations and other business services specific to the health care field.

Terry MBA candidates Ken Kaufman, Jeff Mullins and Tina Manwiller formulated and presented the CarePoint Professional Employees business plan in competition and beat teams from several leading public and private business schools at the invitation-only event, including Indiana University, Notre Dame, the University of Michigan, Purdue University and Case Western Reserve. The Terry College team was advised by management professor Charles Hofer.

As a PEO, CarePoint would serve as administrative employer of record for these small clinics and practices, handling the payroll, insurance, social security, regulatory and other administrative needs of its clients, allowing them to focus on serving the needs of their patients more effectively. Recent census figures estimated the annual payroll of CarePoint’s target market to be about $1.2 billion in Georgia alone.

CarePoint’s victory earned them a berth at the “Super Bowl” of business plan competitions — the 2003 International Challenge of MOOT CORP — which will be held at the University of Texas in May. The first-place team at MOOT CORP gets a $100,000 convertible loan that can be used to help finance the startup of their winning venture.

With this win, the University of Georgia becomes the first and only college or university to have won at least once at all eight of the regional, national and international business plan competitions held annually leading up to the MOOT CORP competition, Hofer said.

Other than UGA, no school has won more than two of the four national and international competitions, nor has any other school won more than two of the four regional competitions, he said.

Hofer, who is also the Terry College’s Regents Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, began coaching MBA student teams to compete in these business plan competitions 11 years ago. The competitions typically pit business plans formulated by the students and their advisers against other new venture ideas, with judges from the academic, venture capital and financial communities determining which plan has the best chance to succeed and turn profitable.