Junior entrepreneurship major Andy Tabar—a native of Cleveland, Ohio—is a semifinalist in two national business start-up contests, IdeaBlob.com and the Fifth Annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (S.E.E.D.). Tabar is garnering notice for his company Bizooki Inc., which has created web site tools that enable niche social networking. Bizooki works with developers and clients domestically and globally helping organizations to connect with their customer base online. It can alternatively be used for secure, online document sharing.
Tabar said, “Participating at S.E.E.D. in March, in addition to regional interest that Bizooki has received, is a good place to be for the growth plan that’s in place. This is the real world experience we are all looking for. My business is no exception. Belmont’s entrepreneurship program has provided me with the know-how and tools to create value and grow a venture. That, along with my experience and commitment, is a winning combination. I will continue to expand Bizooki post May 2009 graduation, building upon operations in the U.S. and globally.”
Dr. Jeff Cornwall, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, said, “Andy is a great example of the type of student we are seeing come into our program. He came with a business and has used all of the resources we offer to build, grow and improve his business.”
Tabar is one of 10 national semifinalist ventures chosen to attend the Fifth Annual S.E.E.D. National Collegiate Venture Forum March 14-15 at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California. Other semifinalists hail from such institutions as Emory University, Harvard University, University of Florida, Westmont College and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each year, S.E.E.D. helps top collegiate ventures secure capital funding. S.E.E.D. completes preliminary due diligence on dozens of business plans submitted by the December deadline, then invites the most promising ventures to present their business plans to a world-class panel of evaluators, early-stage investors, and product development and market-industry specialists.
Launched by Advanta in September 2007, the Ideablob.com Web community has narrowed its January contestants down to the final eight, of which Tabar is the youngest entry. Ideablob.com is where entrepreneurs and small business owners can share and grow their business ideas–and have a chance to win $10,000 towards fulfilling them. Eligible individuals submit their business idea to ideablob.com, and based on votes from the ideablob.com online community–which includes other innovators as well as friends, family, colleagues, associates, teachers and mentors–one idea every month will win $10,000. January entrants may re-submit ideas for February and subsequent months.
Tabar was also recently interviewed by SMsmallbiz.com, the Small Business Site for SmartMoney magazine, on how he started Bizooki with the assistance of Belmont’s Entrepreneurship “Hatchery” program (full article can be found at http://www.smsmallbiz.com/capital/University_Incubators.html).
In addition, Belmont University’s Entrepreneurship Program was selected earlier this month by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) as the winner of the National Model Undergraduate Program. USASBE, which presented the award at its national conference in San Antonio, recognizes excellence in entrepreneurship education in seven categories including undergraduate, MBA and Ph.D. programs.