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Purdue students head to China for global business-plan competition

May 14, 2009

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue students Kristeen Hudson, Brian Paplaski and Joshua Hall are taking their first place finish at the university's Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition in February to a global competition in Hong Kong on June 3-6.


MissionMatchUp, an Internet-based company that helps raise money for mission trips and other fundraising needs, will square off against more than 60 finalists from Australia to Vietnam at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Innovation & Entrepreneurship Student Challenge. Next month's event, which is open to secondary and university students, includes eight U.S. student teams, 13 from the United Kingdom, 10 from Canada and 17 from China.


"MissionMatchUp's goal is to provide resources to people who want to make the world a better place," Hudson said. "With all the encouragement and support we have received from Purdue and through programs offered through the Burton Morgan Center in Discovery Park, we now can present our business plan before a global audience at the upcoming Innovation & Entrepreneurship Student Challenge organized by Hong Kong Polytechnic University."


Hudson and Paplaski, who are graduating from Purdue this week, launched MissionMatchUp as a social networking Web site to provide custom interfaces for individuals to create, distribute and raise funds for service trips and sponsors or donors for fundraising efforts. Hudson of Schererville, Ind., will receive a computer graphics technology degree, while Paplaski of Libertyville, Ill., is graduating with an accounting degree.


For the China competition, the team has added Hall, a junior from Mishawaka, Ind., studying computer information technology with a focus on network engineering. "Joshua's skill sets and personality significantly add to the team as we continue to develop the business," Paplaski said.


The team won the $20,000 first prize in the Black Division for Purdue undergraduate students at the 22nd annual Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition on Feb. 24. They participated as students in Purdue's Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, said program director Nathalie Duval-Couetil, associate director of Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.


Polytechnic's business-plan competition draws students from around the world to present their ideas to influential entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics. (Teams are restricted to three or four, and participants can enter the Innovation & Entrepreneurship category or focus on the areas of Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, or Environment & Sustainability.


"Kristeen, Brian and Joshua are highly motivated students who were able to turn an idea into a working venture in a relatively short period of time," Duval-Couetil said. "Purdue's programs are designed to provide students with the entrepreneurship and leadership skills that will help them to define their careers and lives."


Known as PolyU, Hong Kong Polytechnic University is the largest publicly funded institution in Hong Kong with 26,000 full- and part-time students. With 1,000 academic and research staff PolyU provides 150 undergraduate and postgraduate programs.


The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park is Purdue's premier interdisciplinary hub for entrepreneurship, playing a key role in facilitating business development for emerging concepts and technologies stemming from Discovery Park research.


It also leads Purdue's Kauffman Campuses Initiative, which is focused on making entrepreneurship education available across the university's main and regional campuses, enabling any student, regardless of field of study, access to entrepreneurial training.



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