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Online contests draw BU talent

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Belmont junior Andy Tabar waits for competition results from ideablob.com. The young entrepreneur stands to win $10,000 for his small business.

Belmont is at no loss for students participating in online competitions, and yet there is one more to watch.

Junior entrepreneur major Andy Tabar is a finalist in a national entrepreneur competition by ideablob.com and is currently in the running for a grand prize of $10,000. Ideablob.com is a website where entrepreneurs and small businesses can develop their ideas for businesses and win support - about $10,000 worth of support. Once a month, the ideablob.com community votes and selects a small business idea that they feel deserves the prize.

After receiving an e-mail from entrepreneur professor Jeff Cornwall about the contest, Tabar decided, “I’m just going to give this a try.”

So Tabar submitted his business plan at the beginning of January and weathered the voting process, which, according to an ideablob.com press release, resulted in the “top two winners from each of the first three weeks of January.”

Voting for the January winner opened for ten days and closed Jan. 31. The winner has yet to be announced, but with a track record like his, Tabar is confident.

At eleven years old, Tabar first got interested in building Web pages and within three years was generating revenue from a client base that grew to 30 by 2006. Tabar sold off his initial venture and moved on to create Bizooki, a “web-based platform that empowers social networking and collaboration,” now competing on ideablob.com.

The site is like Facebook for the businessman, providing a secure place to upload files to be shared with employees and to “connect with a customer base online,” which is customizable to the specific company. According to the concise description on ideablob.com, it’s “niche social networking” geared to larger businesses. “We focus on being widely applicable instead of simply trendy.”

Tabar said the idea for Bizooki evolved over time and came from “watching the market,” as in matching up what he could do with what the market needed.

If he won the grand prize, the money would go toward development costs and marketing. Tabar said that essentially it would help Bizooki grow faster.

No doubt running a business as a 21-year-old student makes Tabar a busy guy.

“Let me put it this way, when I’m not in class, I’m doing this,” he said, discussing the time infringement, but added that he just wants to be a normal college student.

On Their Way...
Belmont students Noah Curran, Janice Dotti and Megan Lopez are all one step closer to winning this month’s $10,000 to propel their proposed business plans to the next level. These February finalists are proposing socially conscious business plans. Curran’s, “Turning Actions into Good” helps people to participate in charity regardless of financial status; Dotti’s promotes fair trade in sugar, tea and cocoa; and Lopez’s, “Organic Baby” helps parents raise healthy babies “naturally,” using a community blog for parents for them to learn about organic options in food, bedding, etc. For more information and to vote, go to www.ideablob.com.

“This is what I do.” Tabar stressed his personal philosophy of staying in control of the business so it doesn’t control him. Time management plays a big role in life so he can afford to spend time with friends, play guitar and juggle whatever else comes his way.

“I enjoy it, I see the benefits,” Tabar said, “I created a career for myself.”

The ideablob.com contest isn’t even the only competition Tabar is involved in at the moment. He was also named a semifinalist in the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Enterprise Development National Collegiate Venture Forum. In short, that means that Tabar will be flying out to Santa Barbara, Calif. to “make a pitch and mingle with” 140 potential investors.

“It’s a way to connect with the industry’s best and most experienced,” Tabar explained.

All the while, Tabar looks forward to graduation when he’ll have considerably more time to focus on his entrepreneurial pursuits. For now he doesn’t know how far he’ll take Bizooki or if perhaps he will sell it off one day, saying, “it depends on where it leads me.”

As for why Tabar does all this, he puts it simply: “I like to persevere, see an opportunity and take action. It’s a fire in the gut.”

 

 

February 28, 2008

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•Journalists, debaters win
•Online contests draw BU talent
•‘Think pink’ brings awareness of breast cancer

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Sports
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