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Duke Start-Up Challenge Draws Increasing Numbers of Fuqua Alumni

The Duke Start-Up Challenge, an entrepreneurship competition created by students at the university’s Fuqua School of Business 13 years ago, last year was opened to alumni teams. Since then, more than 50 alumni teams have chosen to take part, and a record 350 alumni will serve as judges helping to select this year’s winners.

Previously open to all current Duke students, the annual event features a short Elevator Pitch Competition in November and a longer $50K Competition in March, culminating in a Grand Finale event in April. This year’s Grand Finale will take place on April 20th, when the winning team will receive $50,000 toward its start-up venture.

“The Duke Start-Up Challenge provides a valuable stimulus for students and alumni to express their entrepreneurial ideas,” Jon Fjeld, Fuqua professor and executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said in a statement. “Its growth over the last few years to be one of the largest university business plan competitions is a testament to the high level of entrepreneurial energy at Fuqua and at Duke University,” he continued.

In addition to the Start-Up Challenge, Fuqua provides many entrepreneurship opportunities for students through classroom teaching, faculty research and Fuqua’s Program for Entrepreneurs, which assists entrepreneurs in launching new businesses. Recent faculty research includes studies on entrepreneurial finance, credit cards and race; the capital structure decisions of new firms and hi-tech entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.

Fuqua professor Ronnie Chatterji has also contributed entrepreneurial insight at the public policy level. He served as a senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA), contributing to a wide range of policies relating to innovation, entrepreneurship, infrastructure and economic growth.

“New businesses create a disproportionate share of new jobs in our economy so policymakers at the federal, state and local levels are intensely focused on how to create supportive conditions for entrepreneurs and their ventures,” Chatterji said. “Likewise, universities such as Duke can play a role in contributing to an entrepreneurial environment through research, teaching and experiential activities.”

To learn more about entrepreneurship at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, click here.

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Posted in: MBA News

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