UO entrepreneurship team nabs 3rd-place in Cincinnati competition

photo of UO's 3rd-place teamEUGENE, Ore. -- March 4, 2009 -- A team of graduate students from the University of Oregon's Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) have formed a company - Parallel Imaging Corp. - that placed third in the 2009 Spirit of Enterprise MBA Business Plan competition at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

The competition, an invitational forum hosted by computer software giant Cincom Systems, allows next-generation entrepreneurs to road test business venture concepts. The winning University of Arkansas team Tears for Life pitched a non-invasive test kit that uses tears for screening women for breast cancer.

The interdisciplinary UO team, whose business plan was developed in the LCE's nationally ranked Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, now goes to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., to compete March 12-14 in the McGinnis Venture Competition. Next month, the team travels to Hong Kong for the University of Science and Technology's international business plan competition, and to cultivate leads in Asian markets for their products.

The general approach for teams is to present a business plan to investors in order to raise the necessary capital to make its new products a reality. Presenting to judges in competitions simulates this process and gives teams an opportunity to perfect their pitch through the judges' questions and comments.

Under the UO team's business plan, Parallel Imaging Corp. will produce and market a receiver coil array for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that will work directly with existing MRI machines to substantially improve image quality and acquisition speed compared to existing coil arrays, said Donald Upson, the team's academic adviser.

The traveling team, which received $2,000 as second runner up at Cincinnati, included Graham Crawford, John Parsons and Ben Stoller, appearing from left to right in the accompanying photo.

Crawford and Parsons are candidates for the MBA degree in the Lundquist College of Business; Stoller is a JD student in the UO School of Law. A former, fourth team member, John LaManna, already has earned his MBA. Other team contributors along the way were Marc Dorfman, a doctoral student in molecular biology student and Jane Vered, a student in the UO's master of accounting program.