UGA entrepreneurs mean business

Students who have an idea for a business or aspire to one day own their own business—but don’t know how to get started—can take their venture idea to the next level—thanks to UGA’s Next Top Entrepreneur contest sponsored by the Terry College of Business. The fourth annual NTE officially starts Jan. 26, and innovative individuals will have the chance to capture a $500 prize package and a possible $100,000 in venture and angel investment capital.

Free and open to all university students, the event is both a competition and a seminar series lasting throughout the spring semester. Initially, students submit a one-page business plan, and attend information sessions and training programs throughout the course of the series. In addition, participants receive individual coaching focused on starting a business.

“Through NTE’s information sessions, training seminars and individual coaching sessions, participants have an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship with the goal of launching a successful business,” said Chris Hanks, who directs the NTE program and is a lecturer for the Terry College management program.

The schedule of sessions and programs for NTE include:

“Our first year resulted in eight businesses being launched, $212,000 of actual revenue produced and an angel round of funding to support the start-ups,” Hanks said. “And it was all covered by CNN.”

Last year’s NTE winner was the brother-sister team of Wes and Katie VanDyk for, a venture that provides a streamlined, online recruitment process for the Panhellenic system. The VanDyks’ winning status earned them the opportunity to negotiate terms for the equity investment.