STARKVILLE, Miss.--After receiving a record number of high-quality submissions for the Global Security Challenge business plan competition, organizers are extending the deadline to July 15.
The competition offers entrepreneurs in the security field an opportunity to win a $500,000 grant and mentorship from leading venture capitalists. Mississippi State is the sole university sponsor for the North American portion of the competition to be held in Washington, D.C.
Simon Schneider, Global Security Challenge co-director, said individuals and companies who already submitted entries now will have additional time to "tweak" their projects.
"To ensure fairness of the process, entrepreneurs who already entered the competition can re-send an updated submission to us," Schneider said Friday [July 6].
Based in London, England, the annual international competition seeks to identify the most promising security start-ups, as well as innovators developing new technologies that could lead to a "safer world." The competition is open to individuals and newly established companies offering technology-based security solutions ranging from encryptions software to biometric applications, Schneider said.
The Technical Support Working Group, a U.S. governmental interagency group usually referred to by the acronym TSWG, will fund the $500,000 grant for the winner of the overall competition, Schneider said. Along with the grant, the winner will benefit from a mentorship from venture capitalists such as the Washington-based Paladin Capital Group, a private equity firm that launched a $235 million Homeland Security fund in 2004.
Mississippi State and GSC joined earlier this year to host the U.S. semifinal, where the top North American selections will present business plans to a panel of judges. Entrants must submit executive summaries of their business ideas according to guidelines outlined at www.globalsecuritychallenge.com.
Singapore and Germany will host other regional semifinals. Five overall finalists will present their business plans Nov. 8 at an event hosted by the London Business School.
Kirk Schulz, MSU's vice president for research and economic development, said the competition should stimulate significant interest among high-technology companies for entrepreneurs. The land-grant institution shares many goals of the competition, such as finding ways to transform research into commercialized products, techniques and concepts, he added.
"As a leading research university and an economic development engine in Mississippi, we welcome the partnership with GSC to provide researchers in the security sector to learn about business aspects of their inventions and to meet potential partners to move their ideas forward," Schulz said.
Mississippi State traditionally has been among the U.S. research institutions ranked in the top 10 percent by the National Science Foundation based on recent science and engineering research expenditures. The university's aggressive technology commercialization program emphasizes engineering and agriculture.
In recent years, MSU established the Thad Cochran Endowment for Entrepreneurship, along with collaborating with federal agencies and industries to help increase technology-oriented, start-up companies. Among the collaborators and sponsors are the U.S. departments of Defense and Energy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, General Electric, Northrop Grumman, EADS/American Eurocopter, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Israeli Aerospace Industry, and Mississippi Technology Alliance.
For specific details about MSU's role, contact Dr. Melvin Ray, associate vice president for economic development, at 662-325-3570 or Melvin@ra.msstate.edu.