Feb. 23, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - An innovative pizzeria concept and a company developing a wound-care technology took the top honors Tuesday (Feb. 21) at Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition, a $100,000 event celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Azzip Pizza, led by Brad Niemeier, won $20,000 as the top finisher in the Black Division, which was open to all Purdue undergraduate students. Niemeier, a senior studying hospitality and tourism management and a member of the Boilermaker football team, is developing a restaurant concept aimed at the fastest expanding sector of the industry, known as fast-casual, where customers can choose their toppings while the pizza is made.
Deborah Hoover, president and chief executive officer of The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, was the keynote speaker for the awards dinner that followed the daylong event, which was held in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.
The finalists who presented Tuesday were selected from an initial list of 68 Purdue student business-plan submissions. Event sponsors were The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Purdue Krannert School of Management, Purdue Research Foundation and Ice Miller LLP.
The Burton D. Morgan Foundation established the competition in 1987 with an endowment gift to Purdue, making it the nation's third longest-running business plan competition. The Burton D. Morgan Foundation also funded the $7 million, 31,000-square-foot Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, the first building to open in Discovery Park in 2004.