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In the U of Sea Booth School’s New Venture Challenge, Young Entrepreneurs Launch Ideas for Businesses You Might Know Soon – CBS Chicago

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Chicago (CBS) — It’s a tough competition here in Chicago – young entrepreneurs trying to convince the judges to invest in their business.

As CBS2’s Jim Williams reported Wednesday, graduate students at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business are competing today as they start the businesses we’ll know with tomorrow. new enterprise challenge.

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David Raby is a past New Venture Challenge winner. His business idea came while he was preparing his own meals for the week.

“It took me three hours to cook my own food for the week using multiple appliances,” said Reby, thinking there must be a better way to get all the best ingredients in home cooking, but without the chores. “

So he thought, why not start a meal kit delivery business? He called it Tovala, and developed it at U of Sea’s Booth School of Business – where he was a student.

“The school is a wealth of resources for people who want to be entrepreneurs,” Raby said, “and because I was laser-focused on it, I was able to capitalize on all those different resources.”

For the New Venture Challenge, budding entrepreneurs faced a tough set of judges – vying for the financial investments to make their businesses a reality.

U of Sea Professor Steve Kaplan co-founded the Challenge 25 years ago. He said that judges are not easy with the students.

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“When they present we bring in 10 or 15 entrepreneurs and investors, and they – the first time they attend, they really get, you know – the ouster is probably too strong, but they get beaten up. , and it’s so creative,” Kaplan said. “And they fix things and they adjust. You know, they get beaten up a little bit again — but it’s a lot better.”

You may have heard of some of the companies that were born in the New Venture Challenge – Grubhub, Braintree, Simple Mills, and many others.

Williams: “It’s incredibly fulfilling.”

Kaplan: “Jim, this is awesome – it is. I love to joke, the only good thing about growing up is that my former students become more successful, and you get to see that.”

Rabi won the New Venture Challenge 2015. Today, his company has two facilities, one of which is on Chicago’s South Side – to serve people in a community that needs jobs.

“It’s quite enjoyable to take something from a crazy idea to a business that employs a few hundred people and, you know, makes our customers happy on a regular basis,” Raby said.

This year’s contest finals will take place on Thursday, and $1 million is on the line.

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The still-active companies launched in the New Venture Challenge have created more than 13,000 jobs – half of them in Chicago.

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