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StartItUp Challenge

The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and MDD Holdings, Inc. are excited to welcome you to the 2017 StartItUp Challenge.

Eligible applicants have an opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of distinguished entrepreneurs to gain both exposure and funds for their new business venture.

The application process will open on March 22, 2017 and applications will be closed on May 30, 2017.  The Championship Challenge round will take place on September 27, 2017. The winners will be announced and celebrated at the StartItUp Conference on September 28, 2017.

$17,500 in total prize money along with mentoring and other support services will be presented to the winners. All participants will be provided mentoring and support services. The cash prizes will be granted to the winners of the Championship Challenge Round of the competition as follows:

1st Place - $10,000

2nd Place - $5,000

3rd Place - $2,500


Winners will also be provided access to additional funding sources including individual, venture capital and angel investors.

We look forward to reviewing your application and experiencing your pitches. We anticipate the competition to be very strong, so please provide as much information as possible showing the value of your business venture.

Eligibility

Applications are eligible if they meet the following requirements:

  • Participants are either students/faculty/staff of the University of North Georgia and/or entrepreneurs within Fannin, Lumpkin, Gilmer, Hall, Dawson or Forsyth counties in the state of Georgia.
  • Participants may compete as individuals; however, teams are encouraged.
  • One team member will present the pitch.
  • Applicants/organizations currently in operation must have been in operation less than three years and have less than $500 thousand in annual revenue.
  • Any new venture idea must be ready for startup.

While we recognize the tremendous value that non-profit organizations add to our community, non-profit organizations are not eligible for participation.

Process and Dates

1. Complete the application, executive summary and two-minute video explaining why you should be selected to participate in the Challenge. Applications will be reviewed and up to 10 applicants in each classification (student, faculty/alumni, community) will move forward to participate in the challenge.

2. Prior to the challenge, selected challengers are required to have one or two team members participate in two required workshops - "Proof of Concept" and "Creating a Pitch."

3. Selected challengers in each classification will compete in the challenge. The top three challengers from each classification will move forward to the Championship Challenge round.

4. The top three challengers in each classification will compete in the Championship Challenge round to determine the first, second and third place winners. The three winners will be presented their prizes at the StartItUp Conference on September 28, 2017.

Important Dates

  • Applications Open - March 22
  • Applications Closed - May 30
  • Challenge Invitations sent - May 22
  • "Proof of Concept" Workshop (Required) - June 3
  • "Creating a Pitch" Workshop (Required) - June 3
  • Challenge Round 1 - June 23
  • Championship Pitch Invitations sent - June 30
  • Working with a Mentor Workshop - July 12
  • Talking with a Venture Capitalist Workshop - August 30
  • Championship Challenge Round - September 27
  • StartItUp Conference - Presentation of Winners and Celebration - September 28
Application
Judges

Patric Pickens

A 2013 graduate of the University of North Georgia, Pickens utilized his chemistry background and research done as an undergrad along with his expertise in cosmetics to create HiQ Cosmetics. Pickens has revolutionized the skin care market by introducing organic producs that leave the harmful chemicals out, while causing bigger competitors to scramble in reproducing his research.

Wade Brogdon

Wade Brogdon is an experienced advisor and investor with a demonstrated history of working in the venture capital and technology sectors. Brogdon has a strong focus on seed stage ventures and large scale private equity. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business with a B.S. in finance.

Jaspal Sagoo, M.Sc., CEA, FAC-COR II

Jaspal Sagoo is the Chief Technology Officer of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the CTO of the nation's premier public health agency, he is responsible for leading the development of information technology standards, best practices and strategic guidance in support of the CDC's business and scientific mission priorities. Part of his office's collaboration is with Georgia Tech's innovation center where they engage students to combine both technology and health to create solutions for the CDC and others.

Harvinder Bhatti, MD

Dr. Harvinder Bhatti is the founder of the Atlanta Spine Clinic. Dr. Bhatti is a prime example of innovation and entrepreneurship outside of the traditional sense. Seeing the need of a new spinal surgery that was in its approval stages in the United States, Dr. Bhatti, upon graduation from the Medical University of South Carolina, sought out a fellowship in London, England. Upon his return, Dr. Bhatti established the Atlanta Spine Clinic that caters not only to surgical operation patients, but the academic arenas with research that he publishes.

Supporting Resources

Mentors

MDD Holdings, Inc.

Business steering, marketing, market introduction and growth

Rajpal Sagoo is a 2016 graduate of UNG. For the past two years, one of Mr. Sagoo’s goals through his firm MDD Holdings, Inc. has been entrepreneurial empowerment for students and locals in the Northeast Georgia area. Mr. Sagoo hopes to encourage entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. Seeing the lack of support for business development for new businesses and those with a passion, Mr. Sagoo decided to fill that void. “When I had ideas a few years ago, there was no one guiding and you had to focus on learning those yourself, which would take away from the product. I hope with this guidance and resources that my firm offers, people can truly focus on making their product great and leave everything else to us!” Through MDD Holdings, Inc., they have been able to help over 25 companies get a firm hold in to the market. Mr. Sagoo hopes that this strategic collaboration with UNG will prompt entrepreneurial endeavors by both the students and local community members that will catalyze Dahlonega and surrounding areas in to a thriving market.

Jaspal Sagoo

Maximizing the technological footprint and internal IT review

Jaspal Sagoo is the Chief Technology Officer of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the CTO of the nation's premier public health agency, he is responsible for leading the development of information technology standards, best practices and strategic guidance in support of the CDC's business and scientific mission priorities. Part of his office's collaboration is with Georgia Tech's innovation center where they engage students to combine both technology and health to create solutions for the CDC and others.

Liebel Law

Fine tuning the legal ends of the business

Wade Brogdon

Guidance in dealing with venture capitalists

Educational Workshops

Proof of Concept Workshop

May 13, 2017

This workshop is a required component of the StartItUp Challenge. It is designed to help the entrepreneur clarify and strengthen their value proposition as well as identify and define their customer segment.

Creating a Pitch Workshop

May 27, 2017

This workshop also is a required component of the StartItUp Challenge. It is designed to help the entrepreneur prepare a compelling pitch presentation and develop their presentation skills.

Working with a Mentor Workshop

June 21, 2017

This workshop is optional, but highly recommended as it will enable the entrepreneur to develop an understanding of how to identify, recruit and work with a mentor.

Talking with a Venture Capitalist Workshop

August 30, 2017

This workshop is optional, but recommended as it will enable the entrepreneur to develop their elevator pitch and to learn how to approach and work with a venture capitalist. In doing so, venture capitalists may fund an entrepreneur's venture or provide feedback on the business concept.

Partnering Sponsors

Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation within the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia (UNG) is actively engaged in building a growing a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem both at UNG and in its surrounding communities. We assist students, faculty and community entrepreneurs who are currently operating business, interested in starting a business or just want to employ entrepreneurial thinking in a corporate setting.

MDD Holdings, Inc.

MDD Holdings, Inc. is a revolutionary firm providing many services to small businesses, connecting entrepreneurs and investors and being a supportive partner that will give businesses the necessary resources for success. With new exemptions emerging every day in Georgia and the United States, like Invest Georgia and the JOBS Act, starting your own business and seeking capital for it has never been easier. MDD Holdings can give an organization the guidance needed to seek entrepreneurs and investors that will help an organization grow. With the help of MDD Holdings, they provide businesses the necessary resources to to set a path of success.

Terms and Conditions

Rules and Regulations

The University of North Georgia and MDD Holdings Incorporated (herein referred to as the "Sponsors") reserve the right to revise and/or update these rules at any time. Every attempt will be made to notify participants of any modification to this document; however it is ultimately the responsibility of the Startitup Challenge participants to stay current with the Rules and Regulations.

The StartItUp Challenge (herein referred to as the "competition") is void where prohibited by law. There is no fee to enter the competition, however, you are responsible for any costs you may incur for creating and submitting the materials that comprise your solution which includes application submission and/or any other materials created for purposes of this competition.

Submissions

All submissions become the property of the Sponsors and will not be returned to the teams and/or creators of submitted content and materials for purposes of the competition. Participants are strongly advised to keep their own copies of all submitted content and materials.

Upon the date of submission, your ideas, solutions and any additional materials that comprise them will remain your intellectual property, which you are free to develop and promote at your own discretion. However, by submitting the materials that comprise your idea/solution in this competition, you automatically grant the Sponsors the right to use any materials, as well as your personal profile information, including but not limited to, name, business name, school, major, team name, image, and likeness, for any non-commercial purpose, including display, promotion, and assessment. Any non-commercial use of the materials that comprise your solution by the above parties will be accompanied by the appropriate attribution as to their creator and/or source. We will not return any submissions or related materials. We agree to not share any financial information about your idea and/or solution without further discussion with the participant unless the information is used for judging and/or award recipient purposes.

Waiver of Responsibility

Applicants/Participants agree to waive all claims against the Sponsors, any and all judges, reviewers, mentors, other sponsors, and/or participants in the competition for any actions that occur as part of, arise out of, or are in any way related to participation in this competition. Participants understand that no confidentiality of any information is provided and that protection of highly confidential trade secret information and other intellectual property is the responsibility of the competition applicants/participants. The Sponsors will not require competition judges, mentors, or reviewers in the competition to sign nondisclosure documents. All participants are urged to seek professional guidance on the type of information that should be included in their startup competition submissions. The Sponsors and its officers assume no liability for release of confidential information by the competitors, judges, mentors, or reviewers.

Awards

To win, teams must have at least one member in attendance to present at the final presentation and awards event. If more than one team member is present, only one team member will present the pitch.

All winners of cash prizes are solely responsible for any applicable U.S. income tax or related taxes. Taxes will be withheld from any cash prize awarded to foreign citizens. Funds dispersed for the winner's of this competition will solely be provided by MDD Holdings, Inc. The University of North Georgia, nor the Mike Cottrell College of Business, nor the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation are responsible for providing payouts to winners of cash prizes.

Non-Confidentiality

This is an open competition and may be recorded and/or broadcast through various means. Any information presented and discussed by a participant in the StartItUp Challenge must be considered open to the public and rights of confidentiality should not be assumed.

Eligibility

Any team or individual that fails to meet the eligibility requirements at any point in the competition will be disqualified. No exemptions to the individual and/or team eligibility requirements will be granted unless an Act of God is involved, including but not limited to, death or life-threatening injury of a team member, death or life-threatening injury in the immediate family of a team member, and extreme weather conditions.

Permission for Public Release

Participants grant to the Sponsors the right to make photographs, audio recordings, and/or video recordings of all program events or meetings, and further grant to the Sponsors the unlimited right to publish, without compensation, participants’ and company names, submitted materials, photographs, audio recordings, and video recordings for educational, promotional, public relations, and advertising purposes.

A parent or guardian of a winner under the age of 18 will be required to ratify and sign required documents to allow the under age participant to both participate and so information about their participation may be shared if appropriate. Accepting prize money constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use winners’ names and other relevant information for public relations and promotional purposes without further notice or monetary compensation.

Copyrights and Permissions

Use of copyrighted materials or images must be noted and permission/authorization should be obtained in advance of the presentation. The University of North Georgia (UNG), MDD Holdings, Incorporated and competition judges take no responsibility for verification of accuracy or completeness of any information, statements or materials presented by any applicant.

Judge Decisions

Judges' decisions on all matters related to the competition are considered final. The Sponsors reserve the right to interpret all rules at their discretion and without prior notice to any and all applicants/participants/competitors.

Indemnity Clause

By participating in the competition, applicants/participants/competitors agree to release and hold harmless the Sponsors, and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, other companies associated with the competition, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, shareholders, representatives, and agents (the “Released Parties”) from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the competition or receipt or use of the prize (including any travel or activity related thereto), including, but not limited to: (a) any technical errors associated with the competition, including lost, interrupted or unavailable Internet Service Provider (ISP), network, server, wireless service provider, or other connections, availability or accessibility or miscommunications or failed computer, satellite, telephone, cellular tower or cable transmissions, lines, or technical failure or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions or computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures or difficulties; (b) unauthorized human intervention in the Contest; (c) mechanical, network, electronic, computer, human, printing or typographical errors; (d) application downloads, (e) any other errors or problems in connection with the competition, including, without limitation, errors that may occur in the administration of the competition, the announcement of the winner, the cancellation or postponement of the event and/or the flyover, if applicable, the incorrect downloading of the application the processing of entries application downloads or in any competition -related materials; or (f) injury, death, losses or damages of any kind, to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the competition or acceptance, receipt or misuse of the prize (including any travel or activity related thereto). Entrant further agrees that in any cause of action, the Released Parties liability will be limited to the cost of entering and participating in the competition, and in no event shall the entrant be entitled to receive attorney’s fees. Released Parties are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by site users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment.

Agreement

By applying for consideration in this competition, you agree to the rules and eligibility terms of the competition. Applicants/Participants/Competitors certify that the ideas and concepts outlined in the submissions to the Sponsors are the original work of the applicants/participants/competitors. If intellectual property is involved, applicants/participants/competitors must have obtained the legal rights to use and to the best of participants’ knowledge there are no legal impediments to launching the business/product.

The Sponsors reserve the right to disqualify any entry in its’ judgment that violates the letter or the spirit of the competition guideline.

 

Who Can Apply

Participants are either students/faculty/staff of the University of North Georgia and/or entrepreneurs within Lumpkin, Hall, Dawson or Forsyth counties in the state of Georgia.

Applicants/organizations currently in operation may apply must have been in operation less than three years and have less than $500 thousand in annual revenue.

Any applicant with a new venture idea must be ready for startup.

Applicants/organizations currently in operation may apply must have been in operation less than three years and have less than $500 thousand in annual revenue.

Any new venture idea must be ready for startup.

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