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Baiada Center 2008 Entrepreneurship Conference Hits High Note

Drexel University's LeBow College of Business Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship in Technology held its 2008 Entrepreneurship Conference on June 4 at the World Cafe Live, at which it announced the winners of the 2008 Business Plan Competition. The top three winners received monetary awards and have the opportunity to start their ventures from the of the Baiada Center business incubator on Drexel's University City Campus. The winners are:

FIRST PLACE: Summalux Technologies - Drexel University College of Engineering students Jameson Detweiler and Eric Eisele won top prizes including $12,000 in seed funding and $40,800 in-kind support. Recognizing the demand for environmentally friendly indoor lighting is growing rapidly, Detweiler and Eisele have developed unique fixtures to improve and enhance the lighting effects of today's solar daylighting systems, thereby adding value to each system and stimulating demand for such systems. Any building with sun exposure can be retrofitted to use these technologically advanced fixtures.

SECOND PLACE: Rosebud Tween Undergarments - Bridget Bramante, Christine Bugg, Jaime Hazley, Kerry Mahoney, and Emily Johnson, all from the Antoinette Westphal College of Arts and Design, won $8,000 and approximately $15,000 in-kind support for their presentation of Rosebuds, a retail store hoping to reach the untapped market of tween undergarments and loungewear. The Rosebud team sited statistics that show that 75-80 percent of women are wearing the wrong size bra, and are completely unaware. By educating young girls on the importance of wearing the correct bra size and encouraging tweens to embrace their body type, Rosebud hopes that ill-fitting garments become a thing of the past.

THIRD PLACE: Microstructure Sensitive Design of Materials -The Microstructure Sensitive Design (MSD) team of College of Engineering students Siddhartha Pathak and  Marko Knezevic, and LeBow College of Business students Wanting Hu and Zhen Cai collected $4,000 in cash and $5,000 in-kind support. Their startup company specializes in identification of new engineering materials (currently metals) and optimizing the processing routes for the development of these materials. The company has developed software (also known as MSD) that can guide a potential customer in the rigorous design of a processing recipe to meet a set of designer specified properties.

 Judging the contest were Robert S. Adams, managing partner, NextStage Capital, L.P.; Mel Baiada, founder and principal, BaseCamp Ventures; Thomas M. Balderston, president and CEO, Mid-Atlantic Capital Alliance; Wayne D. Kimmel, managing partner, ETF Venture Funds; Marc R. Lederman, general partner NewSpring Capital.

The conference also featured a panel discussion on "The Leader of the Band A Metaphor for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which was moderated by Mark Loschiavo, executive director, Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship in Technology. The panel was comprised of  includes Stephen M. Goodman, senior partner, Global Emerging Technology and Life Sciences Practice, Morgan Lewis; Bruce Kaminsky, president of Kydd Products, Inc., professor of music at Drexel University, and bassist; and Bob Wilson, vice president of sales, Disc Makers.

Sitting at instruments, the panelists related the start of a entrepreneurial venture to the composition of a well-played musical score, occasionally breaking from the discussion to play jazz classics such as "Take the A. Train" to emphasize their points. 

Goodman described how a band and startup ventures must have similar traits. "Ventures [and bands] need strong leadership, support of leadership and a place for innovation. Leadership mean you listen and include those on your management team," Goodman explained before leading the band in another number in which the three supporting musicians played a significant role.

Loschiavo also agreed that innovation is important to success in music, more specifically to business, and required flexibility." Don't be so tied to a business plan that you can't make changes," he said. "Know when to improvise and when to hold back."

Hal Real, founder and president, Real Entertainment Group Inc./World Cafe Live, delivered the keynote address and spoke about how, after a successful career in law, he took a risk in starting an entertainment venture four years ago and how his strategy has led to his success.