Monday, April 24, 2006

2006 New Venture competition at UMKC

Last Saturday morning at 8 am, I showed up at Kaufmann Conference Center in a business suit. It is located in the heart of Kansas City, a very beautiful place. It is near the Plaza, and homes to rich owners. UMKC (University of Missouri- Kansas City) is doing this annual competition for its MBA students - working with new ventures and trying to convince the judges to invest into them.

sComm, the company that created UbiDuo, applied, and its product UbiDuo was chosen by one MBA team. I was asked by sComm to go to the competition and help out with their booth by using UbiDuo with the interested parties.

It was a very interesting experience. I felt like I was in "The Apprentice" where the teams try to compete against each other. I saw other new ventures - like Hallmark's song cards, non-invasive diabetic analysis (not sure how to spell that one correct; meaning you do not use needle to check your sugar level), and a substance that replaces transfat.

I felt like a salesperson, talking to numerous judges one by one thru the UbiDuo, answering, and convincing them to choose us. Another deaf man was there also, on one side. I was on the other side.

The whole point of this is networking. I got to meet more people, who are well-known in the community - investors, business owners, and millionaires. This reminds me of Erin Casler's article in latest NADmag, which was about networking. She spoke about networking through the "Smithies". She graduated from Smith College, and she still networks with Smithies all over, even if they do not know each other. It was like the 'old boys network', but for women.

Networking is very important thing to advance from where you are today, either career-wise or personally. In order to climb the ladder, you get to meet more people who might help you to climb. Same thing for advocating. If you know the people "on the inside", you might be able to get your support for a bill to be passed (or to fail).

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