Texas Business reports: Competitors in the 2011 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) will again be rewarded for commercial space business ideas.
In the past, almost a third of the competition’s winners have launched successful space and life science businesses.
The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which hosts the competition, announced NASA's Johnson Space Center will offer prizes for the most innovative ideas in the commercial space market and life sciences technology.
The NASA "Game Changer" Commercial Space Innovation Prize for $25,000 and the $20,000 NASA Earth/Space Life Science Innovation Award will help fortify the RBPC as the world's richest and largest competition, with more than $1 million in prizes.
The $25,000 NASA “Game Changer” Commercial Space Innovation Prize will go to the team that is judged to have the best business plan that supports the commercial space market by addressing a need in technology or a service or product for the suborbital, orbital or lunar exploration markets, said David Leestma, managing director of the Advanced Planning Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
“The award encourages the identification and development of new breakthrough technologies and business models in the commercial space market or market creation to realize this value,” Leestma said.
This is the fourth year for the $20,000 NASA Earth/Space Life Science Innovation Award. It will again be granted to the team/company that presents the best business plan with life science technology that has application to both the NASA space program and to Earth-based activities.
“For decades, the NASA space program has been a source of technology advances that provide benefits not only in space, but also on Earth, which is supported by the Life Science award,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance in a prepared statement. “The new 'Game Changer' award brings a dynamic twist with an increased emphasis on commercial applications. Houston, we have an idea' is the perfect tagline for this competition, with NASA's involvement and the exciting business ideas that could contribute to the success of NASA space flight programs.”
By partnering with the Rice Alliance, NASA increases awareness of the role the space agency plays in driving technology innovations that have benefits on Earth and educates students, faculty and the general public about how research and innovations provide greater societal benefits.
“We are pleased to be partnering with the Rice Alliance to support the 2011 Rice Business Plan Competition,” Leestma said. “The competition brings business and engineering students together with industry, investors and other key members of the business community to support the commercialization of the latest technology developments to create new startup companies”
The competitors for the NASA awards will also vie for the overall prizes at the 2011 RBPC, which will be held April 14-16. Those prizes equal more than $1 million; the grand prize winner of the competition will be eligible to receive a package worth more than $400,000, including up to $325,000 in equity investment, plus more than $75,000 in mentoring and incubation services.
The Rice University Business Plan Competition (RBPC) is the world's richest and largest business plan competition. During the competition's 10-year history, 31 percent of the teams (nearly 120 out of 312 past competitors) have gone on to successfully launch their businesses and are in operation today. Competition participants have raised more than $327 million in early stage funding. The judging panel comprises more than 250 of the "who's who" of the investor, venture capital, entrepreneur and business community. Seventy-four percent of the judges said they were considering investing in a 2010 competitor. In 2011, more than $1 million in total cash and prizes will be announced at the awards banquet April 16 at the InterContinental Houston Hotel.