The clock has started ticking down the days to Illinois State University’s Startup Showcase competition, sponsored by the George R. and Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

This event will be hosted at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Uptown Normal on November 13. The annual event expands each year. New this year, competitors will have the space to showcase their startup, and attendees will be voting for a People’s Choice Award.

The Startup Showcase, while sponsored by the Means Center, is open to any Illinois State student no matter what their major. Startup Showcase has seen past winners come from the College of Education, College of Applied Science and Technology, and College of Business.

This year the finalists will be competing for an awards package of $100,000+ of cash and in-kind professional services as well as mentoring to move their companies forward. Emerging Business Services, Mavidea Technology Group, and many other local startup service providers have come together to support Illinois State students in making their ideas a reality.

The Startup Showcase is an annual student startup competition that rewards Illinois State students for (1) intentionally developing a big value idea, (2) testing sales assumptions with customers, and (3) developing and executing a business plan model. We reward students for action, for being able to gather information and feedback, and react to develop an improved sustainable solution.

Notable winners have been John Luke of Interactive Game Education, Rob Martin of Open Source Classroom, Brian Souza of Bizz Baits, Mike Shannon and Kasey Gandham of Packback Books as well as internrocket.

Register to attend the Showcase this year to hear and see all the innovative ideas of the competitors and finalists, and interact with these young exciting entrepreneurs of the community.

The Means Center is working to empower Illinois State students to engage in entrepreneurial thinking and action. Through a variety of new programs and partnerships, the Means Center exists to help students connect with the resources necessary to turn their ideas into reality, and eventually to start and grow sustainable businesses.

For more information about the Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies or the Startup Showcase, contact Means Center Director Mark Hoelscher at (309) 438-5985 or

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