The TCU Richard Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition began Friday with the highest number of competitors the event has ever had.
On the first day of competition, 51 teams pitched business ideas to judges with the hope of moving onto the final rounds Saturday and having a chance at the top prize: $25,000 cash plus $100,000 in in-kind first year support.
“We take care of their marketing, legal, IT, sales–everything they might need in that first year so they can really focus on growing the business,” Matthew Smilor, director of the Values and Ventures Program, said.
Christine Clutterbuck, team member and senior entrepreneurial management and finance double major, said the TCU team’s project focused on virtual reality therapy for children in hospitals to help with anxiety and depression.
“It’s completely different from what you think of as VR because it’s not the entertainment side of things,” Clutterbuck said. “It’s a different avenue you can go down, and that, I think, we see as the next big thing for virtual reality, and the benefits it has medically.”
Teams traveled to TCU from all over the world.
“This year we invited 51 universities from around the world, from as far away as Bangladesh, Croatia, Scotland, and Canada as well as the United States, which marks our largest competition to date,” said Smilor.
He said the judges look for four things to determine the winning team.
They analyze pitches to see if it’s a viable business–something the competitors can actually move forward with. Secondly, it must be a value-based business which must improve something in society. The judges also look for presentation and how well the students present their pitch. Finally, they analyze how well the business plan is articulated on paper.
Saturday’s rounds begin at 9:15 a.m. in Brown-Lupton University Union ballroom.