CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s tough competition here in Chicago: young entrepreneurs trying to convince judges to invest in their businesses.
As Jim Williams of CBS 2 reported Wednesday, graduate students at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago are competing today as they begin the business we’ll all know tomorrow with the New Venture Challenge.
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David Rabie has won the past New Venture Challenge. His business idea came up when he was preparing the meals of the week.
“Using several appliances cost me three hours to prepare the food of the week, thinking there must be a better way to get all the best items from home cooking, but without working,” Rabie said. .
So you thought, why not start a food package delivery business? He named it Tovala and developed it at U of C’s Booth School of Business, where he was a student.
“School is a lot of resources for people who want to become entrepreneurs,” Rabie said, “and because I was laser-focused, I was able to take advantage of all these different resources.”
For the New Venture Challenge, budding entrepreneurs faced a tough group of judges struggling to make financial investments to make their business a reality.
U of C professor Steve Kaplan co-founded the Challenge 25 years ago. He noted that judges are not easy for students.
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“We bring in as many as ten or fifteen entrepreneurs and investors when they show up, and they, the first time they show up, they really already know, the evictions may be too strong, but they’re hit and it’s so constructive.” Said Kaplan. “And they fix things and adjust. You know they’re beaten up a little bit again, but it’s much better. “
You’ve heard of some of the companies that were born in the New Venture Challenge: Grubhub, Braintree, Simple Mills and many more.
Williams: “It has to be incredibly satisfying.”
Kaplan: “Jim, it’s amazing, it’s. I like to joke, the only good thing about aging is that my former students are more successful and you see it. ”
Rabie won the 2015 New Venture Challenge. Today, her company has two facilities, including one on Chicago’s South Side, that works people in a community that needs jobs.
“It’s a feeling to bring something from a crazy idea to a business that employs a couple of hundred people and, you know, makes our customers happy on a regular basis,” Rabie said.
This year’s competition finals take place on Thursday and there is $ 1 million at stake.
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The still-active companies that launched the New Venture Challenge have created more than 13,000 jobs, half in Chicago.