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Perkins Coie offers $10K prize to UW-Madison student innovators

Perkins Coie LLP has announced a new Innovative Minds competition, offering a $10,000 prize to a University of Wisconsin-Madison student team that produces the year's most market-ready innovation.

The Madison office of Perkins Coie partnered with UW-Madison to develop a prize that would best complement the university's diverse range of competitions. The result is a year-end award designed to recognize a student team that has gone to the next level and developed the most viable plan for launching a successful commercial venture. The prize will be presented on May 8, 2013 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

"UW-Madison has an amazingly fertile landscape for entrepreneurial thinking," says Bob Giles, Perkins Coie's managing partner. "This prize will help students with the best, highest-potential ideas accelerate through the commercialization process and realize their dream of creating a viable business."

The award will cap a full year of entrepreneurial competitions at UW-Madison. Teams eligible for the prize include those that place in the 2013 Schoofs Prize for Creativity, Tong Prototype Prize, Qualcomm Wireless Innovation Prize, Wisconsin Energy and Sustainability Challenge, and G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition. Each team will be required to supplement its original entry with a two-page report documenting market preparation work to date and how the $10,000 prize would be invested in launching a company.

"Our institution is known for creativity and discovery," says UW-Madison Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr. "However, innovation is a contact sport where teams work at the edges of fundamental discovery in a cross-disciplinary manner that yields true innovation. Starting young is the key to be a true entrepreneur. The Perkins Coie prize offers another great incentive for students to make the leap into entrepreneurship."

UW-Madison will be the fourth campus, along with Arizona State University, the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of Washington, to serve as home to an Innovative Minds competition. Perkins Coie launched the program in 2011 to help advance creative thinking, innovation and entrepreneurship on college campuses. 

The prize will coincide with UW-Madison's Year of Innovation, a celebration of the past, present and future of innovation in the university's classrooms and research labs. Activities began October 9 with a special "Innovation U" program at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

Founded in 1912 in Seattle, Perkins Coie has more than 850 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States and Asia. The firm is celebrating its 100th anniversary of representing great companies ranging in size from start-ups to FORTUNE 50 corporations.

Brian Mattmiller
10/9/2012