Infection-reducing coating technology and affordable housing for transient job seekers in developing countries took top prizes this year in the new $100K Entrepreneurship Competition at MIT.
The two grand-prize winners each secured $30,000 in start-up money during the $100K Entrepreneurship Competition awards ceremony held Thursday, May 18, in Kresge Auditorium.
In March, the well-known MIT $50K expanded its mission to become the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, now also rewarding teams focusing on improving low-income communities.
The coating technology, SteriCoat, won in the competition's original Business Venture category. SteriCoat targets the billion-dollar medical catheter market with an application designed to prevent the formation of bacterial "biofilms" on medical devices.
CentroMigrante, which won the Development Prize, combines developmental architecture with a self-help business model to offer a sustainable solution for impoverished people who leave rural hometowns for urban areas to seek employment but are unable to afford decent lodging.
The business plan competition remains an economic barometer on what new ideas are being funded by venture capitalists. Since the $50K launched in 1989, more than 85 companies have been formed from teams that have competed. These companies, in turn, have employed more than 1,600 people and have a valuation of more than $7 billion.
New this year was the launch of the Development Prize, which focuses on business plans that serve low-income communities in emerging and Third World markets. The Business Venture Prize continues to fund high-technology projects targeting specific markets.
"The need for the new Development Prize became increasingly apparent when we looked at the research on campus that targets the developing world," said Karina Drees, MIT $100K lead organizer and an MBA student at MIT Sloan School of Management. "We also saw a steady increase in the number of social and global business ideas in our fall warm-up competition. The MIT $100K aims to help bring MIT technologies to the world -- all parts of the world."
Two runners-up in both categories each received $10,000 in start-up money.