• United States
by nobody

Get in the running with our contest for IT professionals

Apr 19, 200410 mins

When you see those announcements about millions of dollars in venture capital being awarded to one start-up or another, have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey, what about me? What about my idea?” After all, professionals like you are the ones who know what products and services are needed to solve real world problems.

Well, now is your chance. Introducing Network World’s “Who Wants to be an Entrepreneur?” contest, which will recognize the best idea for a new product, service or company. The contest, developed by Network World in conjunction with Commonwealth Capital, a venture capital firm in Wellesley, Mass., is sponsored by public relations firm fama PR of Cambridge, Mass., service provider Qwest Communications of Denver and the law firm of Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault LLP of Boston.

We’ll give the winner a jump-start with venture capital exposure, $30,000 in cash and paid in-kind professional services, coverage in Network World, and a chance to rub elbows with other entrepreneurs at Network World’s annual Demo conference and exhibition in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Here’s how it will work:

• Get a copy of our entry form, which must be filled out and returned by midnight May 17.

• A panel of judges will whittle down the entries to three to five finalists, basing their decisions on the submissions’ originality, value and relevance to the network industry. Judges include Network World editors as well as representatives from Commonwealth Capital, Gold Wire Technology, North Bridge Venture Partners, Sigma Partners and Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault.

• Arrangements will be made for finalists to make a more detailed pitch to the judging panel.

• The winner will be told by June 21 and announced in the June 28 issue of Network World.

So, do you want to be an entrepreneur? Here’s your chance to take a shot.

The rules


Eligibility To and follow the directions to enter; (2) if you receive the email newsletter Netflash or This Week On Fusion announcing the Contest, click on the contest link and follow the directions to enter; or (3) submit an email entry to containing all of the information outlined below.  All submissions must be completed during the Contest Period and when making your submission, you must log on to the Internet from the United States.  You may enter the Contest more than once (i.e., you may submit multiple entries describing different business concepts).

To participate in the Network World Business Plan Contest (the “Contest”) you must be a legal resident of the United States and at least eighteen (18) years old as of April 19, 2004.  You may participate individually or as a member of a team.  If entering as a team, all members must satisfy the Contest’s eligibility requirements.  Employees, principals, and directors of the Sponsors (defined below) and of any non-sponsoring entities whose representatives act as judges, their parent and subsidiary companies, distributors, advertising and promotion agencies and suppliers, and their immediate families and those living in their households are ineligible.  By participating in the Contest, you represent that (1) the business concept described in your entry submission (described below) contains your own ideas, and does not contain the proprietary ideas or confidential information of others, or proprietary ideas or information as to which others may assert ownership rights and (2) that your use and entry of the ideas and information contained in your submission for purposes of the Contest does not violate the rights of others.  You may be asked to certify to the preceding representations in writing.

The Contest begins at 12:00 A.M., Eastern Time, on April 19, 2004 (the “Contest Period”) and ends at 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time, on May 17, 2004.  There are three ways for you to enter the Contest: (1) log on to Network World’s website at

Incomplete submissions are not eligible to win the prize.  This Contest is void where prohibited by law and NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY to win the prize.

Entry SubmissionsYour entry submission must set forth your name, address, email address, daytime and nighttime telephone numbers, current job title and description, employer’s name and address, and a 500 word or less description of your business concept.  The business concept must have an information technology focus and be targeted to a business enterprise.  The business concept may either describe a new or redesigned product or it may describe a complete business entity.  The description should include at least the following information:

*  The concept’s function

* The concept’s benefit over current state-of-the-art

*  The form in which the concept would be sold

*  The likely buyers of the concept and why

*  Where the concept’s idea originated

You should also submit a shorter description of the business concept that is suitable for public consumption.  This shorter version should contain 200 words or less and omit any confidential information contained in the 500 word version.

Selecting A  If for any reason, a Finalist cannot or chooses not to participate in the second round, or is unable to make the presentation described below at a time established by the judges, that Finalist will forfeit its position, and the judges may select an alternate entry submission to proceed to the second round.  Similarly, if a Finalist fails to respond to the notice within three (3) days, the judges, in their discretion, may eliminate that Finalist from the second round, and the judges may select an alternate entry submission to proceed to the second round.

A panel of judges will review the entry submissions.  The judges will select the five (5) submissions (the “Finalists”) that they believe, in their sole discretion, describe a business concept that has the most potential value and marketability.  The judges may consider additional factors in making their decisions, including: (1) relevance to the networking industry; (2) originality; (3) scalability; and (4) time to market.  All other factors being equal, the judges may choose a submission that describes a product or service with a business plan around it over one that describes a stand alone product or service.  The Sponsors will then notify the five (5) entrants who will proceed to the second round.  Notice will be email.  Within three (3) days of notice, the Finalists must accept the invitation to proceed to the second round by sending an email to

The Sponsors will then contact the Finalists and schedule follow-up sessions for the Finalists to present their business concept to the panel of judges via 30-minute web conferences.  The Finalists may utilize slide-based presentations during the web conference.  All presentations must be completed by June 16, 2004.  By June 21, 2004, the judges will deliberate and choose the business concept, that in their sole discretion has the most potential value and marketability (the “Winner”).  In making that decision, the judges may also consider the additional factors set forth in the preceding paragraph.

The Sponsors will then notify the Winner via e-mail.  The Winner agrees to complete an electronic affidavit of eligibility and a liability release within seven (7) days of notification.  The Sponsors must receive the affidavit of eligibility and release in order to award the prize.  If the Winner fails to accept the prize or complete the required forms within the seven (7) days, or if the Winner opts not to receive the prize, or is ineligible under these rules, then the judges reserve the right to choose an alternate winner from the remaining Finalists who participated in the thirty-minute presentations. . 

PrizesIn order to help the Winner implement its business concept, the Winner will receive at least prizes valued at approximately [$30,000], which will include· [$15,800] in cash;

· Up to four hours of time with one or more lawyers from the sponsoring firm of Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, LLP (“TH&T”) (valued at approximately $2,000);

· Entrance to Network World’s annual Demo conference and exhibition (valued at approximately $2,200); and

· Strategic marketing and public relations program development from fama PR (valued at approximately $10,000)

Prize from TH&T is redeemable through discussion time at TH&T’s offices or other mutually acceptable location in the Boston area, or by telephone.  The total value of the prizes may exceed [$30,000] in the event that the Sponsors decide, at their discretion, to commit additional cash, services, or products to the pool of prizes.  The Winner accepts responsibility for all taxes and fees in connection with the prizes.  The Sponsors cannot give advice on tax matters related to the prizes.  Any expenses not specified are the Winner’s responsibility.  The prizes may not be transferred and substitute prizes will not be awarded, except at the Sponsors’ sole discretion, due to prize unavailability.  In addition and without limiting the foregoing, TH&T’s obligation to provide discussion time is subject to its determination that no legal ethical conflict exists with respect to any representation or potential representation of the Winner, and no substitute prize shall be made if such conflict is determined to exist. 


Noncompliance with these rules or any law may result in disqualification and an alternate winner may be selected.  Any attempt to deliberately damage any website in connection with the Contest or undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest is a violation of criminal and civil laws, and should such attempt be made, the Sponsors reserve the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law.

By accepting the prize, the Winner releases and holds harmless the Sponsors, any of their affiliated entities, distributors, promotion agencies, and suppliers, and all of their respective partners, employees, and agents from all liability whatsoever for injuries or losses to persons, including the Winner, and property, which may be sustained, directly, or indirectly, in connection with participation in this Contest, or a Contest-related activity or by reason of the receipt, acceptance, possession, misuse, or use of the prize.

The Contest and these Official Rules will be governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, without regard to choice of law principles.  The state and federal courts of Massachusetts shall be the exclusive forum to resolve disputes arising out of the Contest and these Official Rules. 

Sponsors reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel or suspend the Contest should a virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention, or other causes beyond the control of Sponsors corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness or proper play of the Contest.  Sponsors also reserve the right to cancel or suspend the Contest in the event that fewer than five (5) qualified entries are received. 

The individuals with access to the entry submissions include the judges and certain staff members working for the Sponsors.  These individuals have a great deal of experience in dealing with confidential information and do not plan to disclose publicly the confidential information they receive in connection with the Contest.  You should make clear those portions of your entry submission that contain such confidential information.

Entrants understand and agree that the Sponsors may use the Finalists’ and Winner’s names, addresses, voices, photographs, and/or likenesses and a description of their business concepts, derived from the 200-word description of their concepts in the entry submissions, in publications produced by the Sponsors and in any and all advertising and promotional materials, in any manner or media whatsoever, worldwide, including for advertising and promotional purposes in conjunction with this and similar promotions, without notice to the Finalists or Winner and without additional compensation. 

The SponsorsThis Contest is sponsored by Network World, Inc., 118 Turnpike Road, Southborough, MA 01772, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, 20 William Street, Ste. 225, Wellesley, MA 02481, Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, LLP, 125 High Street, Boston, MA 02110, Qwest Communications, 1801 California Street, Denver, CO 80202 and famaPR, One Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02142.