$70,000 investment prize to be awarded at the Tulane Business Plan Competition this Friday

Medical student Olivia Chang teams up with engineering grad student Alex Girau to develop a plastic container that uses solar energy to purify drinking water. The resulte, Sodi Can, is a finalist in the Tulane Business Plan Competition Friday. (Photo by Theodore Pei)

The Tulane Entrepreneurs’ Association (TEA), a student run organization that encourages entrepreneurship within the Tulane community, will culminate its 12th annual Tulane Business Plan Competition Friday, April 13, 2012, when the winner will be awarded a $50,000 cash investment prize at the final pitch challenge. With a total of 52 teams competing this year, the diverse set of business plans represented teams from 18 universities and three countries.

The annual business plan competition is open to both graduate and undergraduate students from accredited universities across the country, who submit ideas for ventures that will positively impact communities on both local and global levels, and adhere to the principles of social entrepreneurship and conscious capitalism. Social innovation, a major focus of TEA and Tulane University, is aimed at creating sustainable businesses that can solve many of the world’s most pressing social issues.

“This year's submissions have been some of the best we have ever received,” said Court Robinson, TEA’s president. “Students are spending more time creating businesses that speak to the importance of conscious capitalism and its role in business today. The Tulane Entrepreneurs Association is proud to host such talented student entrepreneurs.”

At Friday’s final pitch competition, which is open to the public, three teams from Stanford University, Brigham Young University and Tulane University will present their ideas to an audience of community members as well as a panel of judges who will offer each competitor constructive feedback and ideas for resources, contacts, and connections that will help further his or her entrepreneurial ventures. The panelists represent some of New Orleans’ most influential leaders, including Rod Miller from The New Orleans Business Alliance, Bill Hines from Jones Walker, and Dr. Sandra Coufal from Novartis Research Foundation.

Here are the 2012 Tulane Business Plan Competition finalists:

Calcula, Stanford University

Calcula is developing novel urological medical devices for the removal of kidney stones without anesthesia. The opportunity would be a milestone in the field of urology and has significant patient impact.

EpiQi Sciences, Brigham Young University


EpiQi Sciences is a drug repositioning firm formed to reposition an already FDA approved drug from its existing disease to treat anemia of chronic inflammation (ACI). After a projected 3-year window to complete repositioning, EpiQi Sciences will license its patent rights to pharmaceutical companies and collect royalties over an extended 20-year patent life.

SODI-CAN, Tulane University School of Medicine

SODI-CAN is a dual-purpose water vessel that stores and disinfects water utilizing solar energy. The project was developed through the Tulane University School of Medicine’s Medical Science Innovation Competition in 2011, with the purpose of conceptualizing a novel method of providing clean water to people.

In addition, a $20,000 cash prize will be awarded to the plan that demonstrates the greatest economic impact in New Orleans during the final round of The Domain Companies New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge, a partnership between TEA and The Domain Companies. The final competitors, who represent three local universities, will pitch to panelists that include local entrepreneurs Jen Medberry of Kickboard and Nic Perkin of The Receivables Exchange, as well as representatives from Baker Donelson, The Domain Companies, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.

Here are the 2012 Domain Companies New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge finalists 

Bideo, Loyola University New Orleans

Bideo.com (bid + video) is the world’s first auction exchange for real-time trading of news video and photos. Bideo allows user-creators and citizen photojournalists to protect and sell exclusive images to news publications in a competitive bidding environment. The C2B platform combines free market dynamics, digital rights management, consumer technology and transparency to provide owners of rare, high-demand footage with the framework and tools needed to monetize big media’s soaring demand for this emerging source.

Nanofex, University of New Orleans


NanoFex, a Tulane University spinout based in New Orleans, is a for-profit company that addresses the demand for groundwater treatment by providing a novel, affordable, effective method for remediating hazardous chemicals commonly found in soil and groundwater.

ReactWell, L.L.C., Tulane University

ReactWell develops, manufactures and operates energy efficient underground geothermal reactor systems to economically produce and sell crude oil, bioproducts and other high-value oils, while increasing biomass growth rates. ReactWell is pioneering algae-based advanced biofuel technology by combining proven geothermal technology, bulk open-pond algae raceways, and solar energy to naturally, safely, and cost-effectively cultivate algae to produce valuable crude oil. ReactWell’s proprietary technology converts total biomass and waste into crude oil and other co-products that are cost competitive compared to conventional oils derived from fossil fuels, plants, or animal fats.

The 12th Annual Tulane Business Plan Competition will be held Friday, April 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II, Room 1111, on Tulane University’s campus.  It is open to the public. Following the presentations, the TEA will host a lunch panel open to all students and community members, featuring the final round.

Adriana Lopez writes about the entrepreneurial community for NolaVie and Silicon Bayou News. She also showcases local start-ups through her non-profit organization GenNOLA. For more information on NolaVie, go to nolavie.com.