NIT-Tiruchi's business plan competition has been attracting more participants.

The stature of Ventura, one of India's biggest business plan competitions being conducted by the Entrepreneur Cell of National Institute of Technology - Tiruchi (NIT-T) since 2005 as a platform for projecting practical dimensions of innovative ideas, more than doubled this time over last year in terms of the number of entries as well as the amount of venture capital for the finalists.

Compared to 244 teams from 126 institutions in 12 countries last year, this time there were over 500 national and international entries. Thanks to the encouragement of the sponsors, the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, and the TREC-STEP (Tiruchi Regional Engineering College - Science and Technology Entrepreneurs' Park), the incubation funding was increased from Rs. 40 lakh last year to Rs. 1 crore this time. The cash prizes were worth Rs. 4 lakh.

During the final round held recently, the participants had the opportunity to derive ample motivation from eminent pioneers like Dinesh Awasthi, Director- Entrepreneurship Development Institute, Ahmedabad, and Rajpal Navalkar, a leader in green technology for three decades now. The judging panel for the final presentation was chaired by Dr. Dinesh Awasthi. The members were Dr. Rajpal Navalkar, Suriyanarayanan (CEO, NSRCEL-IIM B), and Ms. Bindu (Incubation Manager-TRECSTEP).

The interactions were followed by the elevator pitch round. Teams were given two minutes time to present a synopsis of their plan. The final ten teams, two of which were from Italy, and Cornell, USA, made detailed presentations of their business plans to the jury on the second day of Ventura'10 finals, exhibiting proposals in various sectors ranging from agriculture and Web 2.0 to textile and fashion industry. Each team was given 20 minutes to present their plan, specifying the relevance of their product in the present and future global market. It was followed by a grilling question round, wherein the contestants had to defend their innovation even as the judges attacked the flaws in their plans. The teams were awarded points on counts of innovation, financial stability of their plans and overall competence.

The winner of Ventura'10 was team ANANnAYA, from BITS Pilani, who propose to use a revolutionary method for cheap production of electricity using gravity cycles instead of the conventional heat cycles. The first runners-up was team BD Pro, with their plan of producing bio-fuel from cotton through a new low cost technology, followed by team Minkle, whose product was a Web-Mobile communication VAS.

The Cognizance award for Best Technical Innovation was bagged by team Biztechians, for their LIM propelled looms. The award for Most Environmentally Conscious plan was given to Team S.P.A Private Limited, whose product Bactorspot promises to revolutionise the concept of Bioremediation and effluent treatment. Other out-of-the-box plans included manufacture of a good quality and cheap acoustic material from carpet industry waste and jute market for the acoustic industry, and construction of a floating bridge.

The judges, who were remarkably impressed by the level of competition, noted that many of the plans reflecting socially conscious, green and profitable innovation mirrored the need of the hour. The teams have been put in touch with TREC-STEP and other incubators to take their ventures forward.

Last year's winning team, CardioCure from Georgia tech proposes to manufacture unique low cost implantable devices for heart ailments in developing countries. Muralidhar Padala of CardioCure team said the venture will be established in a BioTech incubator shortly.

The first runners-up, SeriesTech, with their new and innovative design of motors for electric vehicles, have been linked up with incubation partners in Sweden, and put in touch with Toyota and Honda. The technology is currently undergoing field trial.

The second runners-up, 5 Shells, have already started their venture of Corporate Board Games. They are currently raising more capital for the second phase.