E-Challenge enters semi-final stage

Wednesday, 16 July 2003

The University of Adelaide's Entrepreneurs Challenge is about developing skills, creating opportunities and networking. It provides entrepreneurial-spirited individuals with the necessary tools to commercialise their business dreams and convert them into reality.

Now into its third year, E-Challenge not only has the support of major sponsor Hewlett Packard and the university's business school, it has attracted numerous committed and bright undergraduates who view this as an important stage of their learning process.

And as the event enters the crucial semi-final stage, it has been further energised with the appointment of Ms Marissa Haltis as project manager. A committee member for the past two years and runner- up in the inaugural Challenge in 2001, she immediately slotted into the position and has already made positive inroads.

For Ms Haltis, this opportunity is a major part of her own evolution as she embarks on a Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Accounting and Corporate Finance and a Bachelor of Law at the University of Adelaide.

"E-Challenge not only taught me about commercialising a business idea and writing a business plan, it helped develop personal skills, such as public speaking, time management, negotiation and communication skills," she says.

"I did not hesitate when the opportunity was presented to assume the project manager's role. I am passionate about this event and my objective is for others to benefit as much as I have."

For the past two years, the challenge has attracted young people with bright ideas in a business-like competition that offers more than $70,000 in prizes.

The E-Challenge calls for participating teams to plan business ventures that have real commercial value. Teams consult with industry mentors, academics, management consultants and other key supporters throughout the competition.

The teams conduct market research, carry out feasibility studies and draw up business plans for their concepts, all within a six-month period. Each team must include at least one University of Adelaide student.

The winning team receives prizes to the value of $50,000, the second team $17,000 and the third $6,000. The semi-finals are on 17 September and the finals a week later.

"This is an excellent means of nurturing this innovative spirit in our students," says the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha.

"It is an excellent opportunity to marry the learning from our academic programs and research activities with the practical experience that E-Challenge offers."

Professor McWha added that the skills developed during the E- Challenge would be invaluable to the students as they finish their studies and move on into the wider world.

Besides Hewlett-Packard's considerable financial injection over the past three years, E-Challenge also enjoys support from the Adelaide Graduate School of Business, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Coopers Brewery, Computer Associates, Corporate Express, Centre for Innovation, Business and Manufacturing, Woman Chiefs of Business Enterprises, Playford Capital, Taylor Collison, Madders Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys and Department of Industry, Tourism & Resources.


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