Dear UBC community,
Reflecting on the first two years of the UMaine Business Challenge (UBC), we are extremely encouraged and humbled by the statewide support of this initiative. We have encountered people that are passionate about our state and the University of Maine. We have uncovered that Maine has many resources working to spur on the economic engine and we have been glad to help connect the dots. Most of all, we have found student entrepreneurs who are willing to risk their time and talents to build sustainable businesses for our state.
As founders, we have been running the UBC much like our own start-up with long range adaptable plans following the entrepreneurs’ motto of “fail fast, fail cheap.” While our mission of ‘giving collegiate entrepreneurs the support to transform their business dreams into a reality’ has stayed constant our scope and delivery has changed.
The first year we delivered $6000 in cash prizes and $5000 in kind consulting services to dedicated UMaine students. The competitors were talented, with many of the finalists still running their businesses today. The second year we decided to expand to include students from the University of Southern Maine, while increasing our cash prize to $9000 and $5000 in kind consulting services.
With that, we have been happy, but not content. The UBC wants to continually be increasing its role in developing the state’s economy, while giving back to the University of Maine. This year we have decided to make two changes: 1) provide a 360 degree student experience and 2) expand to all University of Maine System schools.
The first change has been part of our dream since the beginning. Looking at this as our own ‘company’ we need more people involved ensuring that we maintain a commitment to excellence through our expansion plan. As an alumni group, we thought that if students were in charge of organizing, operating, and developing the competition it would give them real world lessons in business leadership, vision setting, and community involvement—an all-around transformational UBC experience.
After much discussion, the UBC will be partnering with the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at UMaine as the operations team for the UBC. We will be providing mentors to this group to aid in their personal growth and all areas of operations. SigEp was chosen due to their consistent commitment to excellence, demonstrated by their cumulative GPA of 3.4 and focus on building leaders for the world’s communities. The UBC Advisory Board will be comprised of state leaders, UMaine professionals, and students from the All Maine Women and Senior Skulls.
In closing, we have been overwhelmed by the support and commitment by many throughout the state. Please take a look at our website (www.umaine.edu/ubc), where we recognize those that have contributed thus far. If you want to get involved, but don’t know how please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-James, Matt, Sangam, and Owen