Xavier Launch-a-Business Generates Excitement; More Than 40 Applicants So Far

| June 21, 2010



More than 40 entrepreneurs have submitted ideas to the X-LAB Competition to obtain consulting services from the Williams College of Business for help starting businesses, nonprofits and social enterprises.


The Xavier Launch-a-Business Competition will identify the most determined, creative entrepreneurs with the most promising ideas. Then, to stimulate the local economy, the College will provide advice and other support to the winners.


The applicants have proposed launching businesses – or expanding existing ones – in fields as diverse as health care, transportation and manufacturing.


Several ideas involve strategies to protect the environment. Almost all involve profit-making entities, even though the competition is open to nonprofits and social enterprises.


A sampling of the ideas submitted since X-LAB starting accepting applications on June 2:


* A bakery with alternative ingredients.

* An invention that provides a new form of illumination.

* A novel approach to family photography.

* Public transportation that uses alternative energy.

* Services for retirees making transitions from one residential setting to another.


The backgrounds of the applicants also are varied. They include nurses, a college coach, a pharmacy manager and a sculptor. 


The winners will get:

* A faculty member and/or business executive to act as a business adviser.

* Consulting services for up to a full academic year -- nine months -- to assist with the development of a business.

* Access to College workshops, executive mentors and networking events.

* Feedback on the development of a business plan from business professionals.

* A meeting with potential investors.


What makes X-LAB different from other economic development programs is that, to guide the entrepreneurs, X-LAB will draw on the business expertise of the college’s 65 professors, 500 executive mentors and 1,000 MBA students.


Xavier Business Professor Joseph Carter, who is heading X-LAB, noted that before the recession, American job growth had come about mostly because of new businesses, not large corporations.


“The implication is clear: New businesses -- and the entrepreneurs who create them -- are the engines of job creation and growth – and we need to support them,” Carter said. “And that’s why we’ve started the X-LAB Competition.”


The applications will be judged on three overall factors: the viability of the ideas, the potential of the business owners and whether the capabilities of X-LAB are a good match for the businesses. X-LAB will select at least five applicants for initial support.


Entrepreneurs are asked to apply by July 7 using an application available at www.xavier.edu/xlab. Applicants will be screened by faculty members and members of the business community. Winners will be announced by September 10, 2010.


Carter explained X-LAB on Business Beat, which airs on WCET-TV.