One of the things my mama taught me was that "if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything." As I have grown up and entered the business world this saying morphed a little. More along the lines "don’t just bring problems to the table, bring potential solutions."
Before I got back to my office after the GRA/TAG business launch competition my mobile phone was ringing in response to the initial announcement and it was not too long before the tweets were flying. The conversation was taken to the next level when Scott posted an article on the matter. I am glad that Scott posted what quite a few people were thinking. Having the conversation out in the open is healthy.
I understand that ATM Direct winning the competition bothers a lot of people. I understand why it bothers a lot of people. But what really bothers me is no one has any suggestions for positive change. From my point of view you can whine, suggest ways to make it better, or get out your pen and stroke a $100k check. I am going for the positive inexpensive option. I encourage you to add to or take away from this list as you see fit in the comments.
So, if I were in charge (and I am not), I would change the terms and conditions of the GRA/TAG Business Launch Competition to include:
1. In operation for less then two years.
2. Any form of funding must be less then $500k.
3. Revenue since formation must be less than $100k.
Moreover, if I were in charge (and I am not), I would move away from the focus on clusters and let any startup that meets the core criteria enter the contest. In my mind the more entrepreneurs that are involved the better.
What would you like to see GRA/TAG do to improve the competition?