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March 12: Tepper School of Business Hosts Top B-Schools In 2008 McGinnis Venture Competition


Geof Becker                         

Tepper School of Business Hosts Top B-Schools
In 2008 McGinnis Venture Competition

International Competition in Pittsburgh Ranked No. 1 in U.S. for Venture Investment Growth

PITTSBURGH — A recent report ranked Pittsburgh first in the nation for growth in total venture capital investment and second for growth in VC-funded companies.  On March 13-15 at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, the McGinnis Venture Competition will showcase the types of new business ideas that are attracting this extraordinary level of interest from investors.

In its fifth year, the McGinnis Venture Competition attracts teams from the world's top MBA schools to compete for prizes that include cash and legal services from Pittsburgh's top venture-minded community. The annual McGinnis Venture Competition is made possible by an endowment from Gerald E. McGinnis, a successful entrepreneur and founder of Respironics Inc. 

This year, 25 teams will compete in three tracks — Technology, Life Sciences and Sustainable Technology — for more than $140,000 worth of prizes, including $62,000 in cash. The top "elevator pitch" also wins a cash award. More than a quarter of the teams are from international schools, including two from India and one each from Hong Kong, Germany, Colombia and Canada.

"The McGinnis Venture Competition attracts some of the best new business ideas from the top business schools in the world," said Art Boni, director of the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School, which sponsors the competition.  "The recent recognition of Pittsburgh as one of the top cities in the country for venture capital activities adds to the value received by these top B-school teams, along with the cash and services earned by the winners."

Tepper School alum Sarosh Kumana (MSIA, 1977), chief executive of Pacific Investment Properties, is again sponsoring the Sustainable Technology competition, helping to grow it from an award in the technology track last year to its own track this year.

In addition, Kumana, who also founded the Foundation for a Sustainable Future (, helped sponsor the Al Gore Sustainable Technology Venture Competition in India, which produced the two Indian teams competing in the McGinnis Venture Competition, one from the Mudra Institute of Communications in Ahmedabad, the other from the National Institute of Technology in Rourkela.

Following the competition, Kumana will deliver a lecture, titled "Sustainable Future," on Monday, March 17 at the Tepper School.

The competition begins Thursday morning, and finalists will present their business plans to judges made up of experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists Saturday afternoon at the Tepper School of Business on Carnegie Mellon's campus. 

Winners will be announced Saturday evening at the awards dinner at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center.  Tepper School alum Joel Adams (MSIA, 1986), president of Sewickley, Pa.-based Adams Capital Management, will deliver the keynote address.

In addition to the cash and business services, two of the three McGinnis winners will be entered in the Moot Corp® Competition at the University of Texas at Austin.

Pittsburgh's place in the national rankings of regional venture capital activity was reported in the well-regarded MoneyTree™ Report, a collaboration between PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, using data from Thomson Financial.  The report noted that venture-funded companies in the Pittsburgh region grew from 12 to 44 from 1997 to 2007, up 267 percent, and total investment grew from $32.32 million to $198.17 million, up 513 percent over the same period.