WPI Students Win $10,000 Prize in Business Plan Contest

Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5706

WORCESTER, Mass. - During an evening awards ceremony last night, the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) named WPI alumni Kevin J. Menard, Jr. '04 and Cory Wallenstein '05 this year's winners of the 2005 CEI@WPI ALL-OUT Business Plan Challenge. Menard and Wallenstein are founders of Servprise International, Inc., which manufactures WebReboot, a high-tech appliance that enables crashed computer servers to be rebooted through a Web browser without interruption of power. During last night's ceremony, the two were awarded a $10,000 check.

In its fourth year, the CEI competition is an opportunity for WPI undergraduate and graduate students to test the validity and perceived value of their business idea against other business ideas. Current WPI students are eligible to author and submit business plans individually or in teams. All authors/team members must be, or have been, enrolled as a full-time or part-time WPI degree-seeking student during the current academic year.

"The exceptional work of our students as showcased by the CEI@WPI ALL-OUT Business Plan Challenge continues to inspire me - and this year was no exception," said McRae C. Banks, CEI Director and head of WPI's Department of Management. "Kevin and Cory stood out among their peers in the planning and evolution of their business. They identified a need, analyzed their competition, designed and prototyped a product, applied for a patent and are now planning to scale their WebReboot to serve enterprise customers."

The winners were determined by a panel of distinguished judges, who used a 15- point judging criterion that included Is the business plan persuasive? Is the value proposition realistic? Do the principals involved demonstrate a strong commitment to the venture's success? What is the expected time frame and payoff for new investors? Will the business be around if five years?

The judges also recognized WPI student Kaes Sullivan-Keizer of Social and Environmental Solutions with a plaque for his team's commitment to improving the environment and the economy with a nonprofit "green technology" service concept. In addition, the following business plan contestants were also highly commended and recognized for their submissions: Scot D. Junkin, Ryan R. Angilly, and Robert T. Lyons of JAL Technology for advancing their pantry inventory concept from idea to a written plan; and Artur A. Janc of Share, for conceptualizing a service that will make file sharing between computer users nearly effortless.

About the WPI Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

The Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is Worcester Polytechnic Institute's university-wide center for entrepreneurship activity. It was founded in 1999 to capitalize upon the extraordinary synergy between WPI's many different entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives and extend the benefits to a larger community.

The Collaborative serves WPI students, faculty, and staff in all majors and the external business community through programs that nurture a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation on WPI's campus and accelerate knowledge and action in the transfer of technology. It links people to the education and network required to understand and act upon technology ideas generated in classrooms, dormitories, laboratories, and wherever else innovation occurs.

The CEI connects with entrepreneurs, incubators, small business organizations, investors, service providers, private foundations funding entrepreneurship initiatives, and government organizations charged with economic development activity. For more information about the collaborative, visit the CEI web site.