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By Eller College


This month, venture teams in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program began chronicling the ups and downs of venture planning on www.McGuireExperience.com, a new site featuring blogs, videos, and details about the process of going through the top-ranked McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.

Now the teams are preparing for the first big test of the spring semester: Innovation Day at UA on March 23.

At the annual showcase of campus-wide innovation, the McGuire venture teams participate in a tradeshow. Each team hosts a booth with collateral materials, prototypes, samples, and more. “It’s really an opportunity to put their communication skills to the test,” explains McGuire Center director Sherry Hoskinson. “We’re testing their fluid understanding of their ventures — during the tradeshow, they’ll get comfortable delivering their elevator pitches and answering a range of questions.”

Tradeshow attendees will be armed with “investment dollars” — paper scrip — that they’ll use to vote on their favorite venture. Six finalist teams will be invited to make formal presentations to an audience after the tradeshow.

The entrepreneurship teams will also interact with angel investors who are in Tucson for theSouthwest Angel Summit. The angel investors will join the paper scrip voting scheme.

“Angel investors have a wide breadth of knowledge and bring that to bear in assessing venture teams,” explains Hoskinson. “Their insight is particularly valuable at this stage of the process, as we lead up to the competition in April, and, in addition to our venture teams, it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase UA-wide innovations.”

In addition to a great learning opportunity, Innovation Day will yield a cash prize for the winning presentation and a prize for the popular favorite as well.