A significant pledge from Leonard J. Attman, president of Attman Properties Co., will endow the Leonard and Phyllis Attman Competitive Business Prize in the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business. The pledge is for a competitive business awards program, in which students and alumni compete for vital seed funding for their innovative new business ventures. The prize is intended to boost the school into the top ranks of institutions recognized for their leadership in enterprise creation.
Competitors—at least one principal owner must be a UB student or a UB alumnus who has graduated within the past five years—will be evaluated by a panel of judges drawn from a select group of investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders from the greater Baltimore area. They will be challenged to persuade the judges that they have a viable enterprise worthy of investment. The winning start-up businesses will receive financial backing and a package of services, including rent-free space in Merrick's business incubator, coaching from business leaders who serve as volunteers in the Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center, and a variety of in-kind services to help winners advance their ventures.
"Business competitions are a hallmark of the nation's top entrepreneurship programs. Our goal is to use the Attman prize to help students and recent alumni bridge the gap between theory and practice," said Dean Darlene Smith. "The school's role traditionally has been to serve the next generation of Maryland's business leaders; with this prize, we're establishing another way to do that. I look forward to seeing the great things our new entrepreneurs come up with."
With more than four decades of experience as a successful business owner, Leonard Attman believes that a solid business concept and good execution can lead to a successful venture. He always encourages entrepreneurs to apply a strong work ethic and seek the advice and counsel of others with business experience.
"It is imperative that the business community continually foster business innovation, create jobs for our neighbors and ultimately strengthen Maryland’s economy," Leonard Attman said. "I see my commitment to the Merrick School of Business as an investment in our community’s finest resource—our people."
The competition is expected to kick off during the 2013-14 academic year. In the interim, additional support for the competition will be sought by the Merrick School of Business, and the rules for competing will be developed. Before the competition gets underway, announcements will be made to eligible students and alumni.