Published: March 29, 2012

Ventures companies pitching ideas around accessible, high-end film equipment, clean fuel produced from non-recyclable materials and ground airport transportation will be competing for more than $10,000 in funding awards during a University of Colorado business development competition Thursday.

The New Venture Challenge -- a university business competition hosted by the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship -- will give six companies an opportunity to pitch their business to a panel of judges and a public audience in the fourth-annual business challenge. The other three companies have not yet been announced.

The challenge began in the fall with nearly 80 participating companies, ventures and ideas -- a record number for the program, according to coordinator Jacqui Dietrich. Six months later, the remaining participants have been narrowed to the top businesses plans in each specialty -- or New Ventur Challenge "tracks" -- including information technology, social impact, music, clean technology, general entrepreneurship and one wild card.

Each team includes at least one member of the CU community, which can be a student or faculty member.

The challenge will begin at 5:15 p.m. in the Wolf Law courtroom and is free and open to the public.

Ray Johnson, CU business professor and New Venture Challenge mentor, said he's impressed with the caliber of contestants in this year's program.

"It's a testament to the thinking and ingenuity of the students out there and the mentoring that's going on in this challenge," Johnson said. "The challenge is really focusing on getting back to the main point, the education process."

The top three ideas will receive cash prizes of $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000 with a fourth company awarded $1,500 for audience favorite.

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