The pioneering economic development program for business entrepreneurs created by the Williams College of Business, known as Xavier Launch-A-Business, is accepting applications from Monday, Aug. 20, through Friday, Sept. 7, for its third year of competition.
X-LAB applicants may apply online this year and complete the in-depth questionnaire at the same time. The rigorous process includes assessment and interviews conducted by a panel of faculty, MBA students and executive advisors from the community.
Applications are judged on three primary factors: the viability of the idea, the potential of the entrepreneur, and whether the capabilities of X-LAB and the business idea are a good match. The business or nonprofit also needs to be able to grow or make a significant impact regionally or nationally.
After assessment, up to 25 applicants will be invited to participate in fee-free workshops led by Xavier faculty and local executives during the fall semester. In January, each workshop participant will be interviewed, and five will be chosen as the 2012 winners based on their participation, progress and engagement during the interview.
Winners will be notified in January. Each will be assigned a mentor and given access to MBA consulting services and speaker events on campus. They also will be offered a chance to meet with a panel of investors.
Overall, the winners will discover what it takes to turn their business idea from a concept into reality.
X-LAB differs from other entrepreneur competitions because its primary benefit is the sharing of business expertise. Many competitions offer mainly cash prizes, but X-LAB recognizes many entrepreneurs need more than just money to succeed. The program draws on the College’s 65 faculty members, 500 affiliated executives and nearly 900 MBA students to advise the winners, and then connects them to investors when their idea is ready.
The X-LAB program also benefits Xavier students. The College offers an MBA course in which students act as consultants to the X-LAB businesses, providing them experience with a real company facing real issues. Undergraduates from other colleges and majors at Xavier have also gotten involved by helping businesses in Norwood and Evanston.
“X-LAB is important both because it provides tangible support for high potential businesses and is a visible indicator of Xavier’s commitment to the local community,” said Brian Till, dean of the Williams College of Business. “We are proud to see this program gain traction, visibility and support.”