Search for 50 Startups with High-Growth Potential Begins with Launch of 2011 Startup Open Competition

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Promising young companies with a ‘startup moment’ can vie for recognition and prizes announced during Global Entrepreneurship Week

Kansas City, Mo. (May 26, 2011) Startup Open, a competition that recognizes startups with high-growth potential, has launched its search for the 50 most promising new startups around the world as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2011. The “GEW 50” will be announced on Oct. 15, 2011, with those companies then competing for the top honors and prizes.

“Economic growth and job creation is directly tied to young businesses with the potential to become part of tomorrow’s Fortune 500, so recognizing and rewarding those most promising startups on the path to success may inspire others to follow their examples,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation.

Startup Open is a featured competition of GEW, an initiative founded by the Kauffman Foundation to spur new ideas, ingenuity and firm creation through local, national and global activities in more than 100 countries. The competition, now in its second year, is open to entrepreneurs who have a “startup moment” between GEW 2010 and GEW 2011 (Nov. 22, 2010 to Nov. 20, 2011). A startup moment is defined as any action related to launching a new business, such as incorporating a company; officially opening the doors for business; completing a first sale; or securing outside funding.

Startup Open applicants will be judged on concept, growth projections and knowledge of their industry. A handful of companies winning the top honors and prizes will be announced on Nov. 14 as GEW 2011 gets underway.

The Startup Open 2010 grand prize winner received a trip to Richard Branson’s privately owned Necker Island. Winner Olivier Ceberio, founder of Resolute Marine Energy (RME) in Boston, Mass., recently returned from his trip, where he took part in multiple networking sessions with Branson and other successful entrepreneurs. Additional activities included a sailboat race with Branson and a trip around the island in the “Necker Belle” catamaran. Ceberio won the top prize at GEW 2010 for his RME plan to develop wave energy converters that generate clean energy from ocean waves. The goal of RME is to aid the 1.2 billion people worldwide who lack access to safe drinking water.

“During my stay at Necker Island, I had the opportunity to learn from and exchange ideas with some of the brightest and most inspiring entrepreneurs in the world,” said Ceberio. “I am very grateful to the Kauffman Foundation for providing me with this invaluable experience that will help expand my network as I improve and grow my business.”

Last year’s second and third places winners received two days of mentoring at Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, a Kauffman Foundation program. Entrepreneurs Stas Samarin of PulmoCAD, LLC in St. Louis and Kahoru Watanabe of Wing Power Inc in Sarasota, Fla., had the opportunity to hear new ideas and feedback on how to improve their business models from every angle.

Startup Open applicants will have until Sept. 15 to submit their startup moment. For more information on how to enter and the 2010 winners, please visit www.startupopen.com.

Global Entrepreneurship Week

During one week each November, thousands of activities around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial action while connecting them to potential mentors, collaborators and investors. In three short years, Global Entrepreneurship Week has expanded to more than 100 countries—empowering nearly 20 million people through 95,000 activities. Powered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a growing network of 24,000 partner organizations. For more information, visit www.unleashingideas.org, and follow @unleashingideas on Twitter.

Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people’s eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. In addition, the Foundation focuses on initiatives in the Kansas City region to advance students’ math and science skills, and improve the educational achievement of urban students, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory charter school for middle and high school students set to open in 2011. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on Twitter at @kauffmanfdn and Facebook.