Ticket distribution firm wins business plan competition

by Dennis K. Brown

A newly patented system called Flash Seats won the $15,000 grand prize today in the fourth annual McCloskey Business Plan Competition organized by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame.p. Founded by four Notre Dame MBA students, Flash Seats is designed to issue, transfer and redeem athletic and entertainment event tickets electronically. The process saves money by eliminating printing and distribution costs and lessening the need for box office personnel, while also providing a team or promoter greater control over tickets and making ticket buying more convenient for customers.p. Flash Seats’ founders, all first-year MBA students, are Justin Carter, Sarah Coffman, Joshua Francis and Radu Olievschi. The foursome also won the Palo Alto Best Written Plan award.p. Finishing second in the McCloskey competition was Illitek, a software firm that has developed EasyBooker, a program that allows customers of businesses such as salons and spas to book appointments online and in real time. Illitek also won the Best Undergraduate Plan award and the $2,000 Bernel Best Bootstrap Plan award for the student business plan that can achieve positive cash flow and proposed business objectives with less than a $100,000 investment.p. The winners of four other business plan competitions organized by the Gigot Center also were announced today.p. The third annual Social Venture Plan Competition, for socially oriented business ideas, was won by TechAction. Founded in Raleigh, N.C., the firm will provide the infrastructure to match volunteer teams of skilled technology professionals with non-profit organizations in need of technical assistance. The first-place prize money was $7,000. Within the Social Venture competition, the $3,000Most Innovative Plan award was presented to Poetry Lifeline, a venture designed to encourage creative expression in young people and develop a “healing arts” greeting card line.p. Wachusett Country Club in West Boylston, Mass., an 18-hole semi-private golf course, restaurant and banquet facility, won the Dorothy Dolphin Family Business Plan Competition and a $7,000 prize. The Dolphin competition promotes the development of strategic business plans in family businesses, which, for the purposes of the competition, are defined as existing businesses with family ownership and operational control. The Marrone family has owned the Wachusett Club since 1939 and has developed a plan to ensure ownership is transferred to the next generation.p. The Invention Convention, a joint project of the Gigot Center and the Robinson Community Learning Center, consisted of youth (ages 13-18, with a student mentor from Notre Dame) and adult competitions. The top youth entry was Poetics, a venture created to market personalized t-shirts, bandanas and other apparel. The adult winner was On the Spot Oil Change and Lube, an automobile oil change and lubrication maintenance firm that will perform service at the location of a customer’s vehicle. The winning youth and adult entries both received $2,500 prizes.p. Contact: Theresa Sedlack, Gigot Center program manager, 360-8693.p.

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