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University Park Alliance launches business plan competition


University Park Alliance (UPA) has announced the launch of the Start UP! Business Plan Competition. The competition is open to all interested entrepreneurs who would like to locate a business in University Park.

The goal of the competition is to help attract and assist new business, especially business providing basic but missing services in the University Park neighborhood, and to give aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to bolster their business acumen. Entrants gain practical insights about starting and growing a business while competing for cash prizes.

Successful entrepreneurs to offer guidance

Interested entrepreneurs begin the process by submitting an initial application found at, which is due by Dec. 8, 2011. Finalists will attend a mandatory orientation session that will describe opportunities in the University Park neighborhood. At this session finalists will also receive feedback on their initial application and guidance from successful entrepreneurs and The Student Venture Fund at The University of Akron (SVFUA). Those selected to continue will receive from The University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF) and SVFU individual guidance on writing a business plan and developing a strong business pitch.

Eric Anthony Johnson

"We hope that many budding entrepreneurs will submit an initial competition application with us to help prepare their business plans for submission," said Eric Anthony Johnson, UPA executive director. "We look forward to increased business activity in University Park as a result."

In spring 2012, finalists will present their plans before a panel of judges to determine the winners of the competition. Those submitting winning business plans will receive from UPA funding up to $10,000 and assistance locating a suitable site within University Park. Winners will also receive ongoing consulting support as they bring their business ideas to fruition.

The competition is presented by UPA with support from UARF, SVFUA, Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease LLC, and Meaden & Moore.

For more information about the competition visit, call 330-777-2070, or e-mail

About University Park Alliance

University Park Alliance is a nonprofit community development corporation dedicated to advancing the transformation of University Park, the 50-block neighborhood surrounding The University of Akron. UPA's urban reinvestment strategy is to capitalize on the economic synergy of Akron's Anchor Institutions and develop University Park as a dense, walkable neighborhood with diverse cultural offerings, great health care, quality education and plenty of recreational and leisure opportunities. UPA receives major funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Its partners include The University of Akron, city of Akron, Summa Health System, Akron Beacon Journal, Akron Children's Hospital, Akron General Health System, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, Greater Akron Chamber, Akron Public Schools, and the University Park residential and business community.

Media contacts: Beth Boggins, 330-777-2072 or, or Laura Massie, 330-972-6476 or