We have discussed the New Venture Championship (NVC) in this space before, but you may not know the UO Lundquist College of Business helped originate and refine the very concept of graduate business plan competitions—much like it helped give rise to the academic study of sports marketing.
Twenty-four years ago, the New Venture Championship started with only three teams—University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Portland State University—and has since grown into one of the most highly regarded graduate business plan competitions in the world.
Fifty-eight teams from around the globe applied this year to be one of 16 teams selected to come to Portland to compete on April 9-11. We are an important stop on the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition circuit. And it should be noted, most other graduate business plan competitions are built off the Oregon NVC model—that is, their format looks like ours because they learned it from us.
As we continue to set the pace for graduate business plan competitions, our spirit of innovation and global ties are important, but two additional elements also set us apart: our industry-leading judges and our cross-campus collaboration.
“The quality of judges is our hallmark—and something other competitions envy and try to emulate,” said John Hull, executive director of Lundquist’s Business Innovation Institute and assistant dean for centers of excellence.
Our 2015 final round judges include Mike Buckley, vice president of partnerships at Nike; Michael Crooke, past CEO and president of Patagonia Inc. and current UO Avamere Professor of Practice; Diane Fraiman, partner with Voyager, focusing on software and digital media investments in the Pacific Northwest; Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software and entrepreneur advocate; Tim Stout, MBA ’06, and chair of the ophthalmology department and director of the Cullen Eye Institute at Baylor College of Medicine and former vice president for commercialization at Oregon Health Sciences University; and John Wood '75 (Journalism), MBA '77, vice chairman and a member of Heidrick & Struggles’ Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors Practice and one of Bloomberg Businessweek’s “50 Most Influential Headhunters in the World.”
Student participants regularly cite the quality feedback from Oregon’s NVC judges as game changing for their venture. With first-rate volunteers like the above, you can see why.
Additionally, our planned NVC keynote speaker this year is Miguel McKelvey, founder and cofounder of numerous ventures. Most recently McKelvey started WeWork, a membership-based creative coworking community that differentiates itself with such perks as benefit and payroll options. These innovations and more recently landed WeWork on Fast Company’s “50 Most Innovative Companies” list, which also includes Apple, Instagram, HBO, Google, Tesla, and Warby Parker, to name a few.
Another distinction of our competition is the special relationship we hold with the UO School of Journalism and Communication. Tim Boyle, president and CEO at Columbia Sportswear, as well as a UO journalism alumnus, believes so deeply in the concept he has sponsored the relationship for many years. His funds give the student-run Allen Hall Advertising the budget to create and place advertisements that can be seen all over Portland. His support also ensures that NVC winners have the monetary start needed to build businesses. By creating more learning opportunities for Oregon students, as well as bringing together two premier colleges within the university for real-world collaboration, our competition is truly cross-disciplinary.
Consider joining us April 9-11 at the Embassy Suites, 319 SW Pine Street, in Portland. We can assure you, even just stopping by will be very much worth your while.
Cornelis A. “Kees” de Kluyver
Rippey Distinguished Professor