Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to Microsoft

More than 35 Denver-area entrepreneurs assembled at the Daniels College of Business Jan. 18 to enter the MicrosoftIdeaWins Ultimate Challenge and to get business advice from the pros.

Prizes include $100,000, a year’s free rent at a Manhattan storefront and software tools. 

Microsoft is searching the country for the most creative small business idea to support the recent launch of Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007. Daniels was a stop on Microsoft’s five-city tour, which began on Nov. 28 in Times Square and continues on to Chicago and Atlanta. 

Local hopefuls were able to submit their applications, meet Microsoft representatives and discuss their ideas with business professionals, including Daniels Clinical Professor Kerry Plemmons. 

Marie Kline, director of operations for the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management, was one of the entrants. Although she declined to discuss specifics, she said her product was for baby boomers.

“I’m always thinking up crazy ideas, and my daughter is always telling me that I need to follow through with them,” Kline said. “I entered so I could tell her that I actually took some action.”

Pleased with the panelists’ responses, Kline said she plans to pursue her idea.

“I received some excellent feedback, and they were much warmer to the idea than I thought they’d be,” she said.

Scott Henley of Denver came to the event with a list of ideas.

“I’m a restaurateur by background, but I have a ton of ideas for different businesses — some restaurant related, some not,” said Henley. “I wanted to hear what the panelists thought of some of my ideas before I decided what to enter.”

Contest applications can be made online at through Jan. 31. Submissions will be judged and scored on their marketing approach, financial and logistic feasibility, originality and public interest. 

Four finalists will be revealed in February and the public will be able to participate in an online vote for their favorite idea.

Comments are closed.