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UTSA to award up to $75,000 at competition focused on data science-based business ventures

UTSA to award up to $75,000 at competition focused on data science-based business ventures

APRIL 14, 2023 — Six teams have been selected to proceed to the final round of the Draper Data Science Business Plan Competition, which will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 21, at San Pedro I, the downtown facility that is home to the UTSA School of Data Science.

The teams, each consisting of two to four members, will vie for up to $75,000 at the competition, made possible by a $1 million donation from third-generation venture capitalist and founder of Draper University Timothy Draper and his wife, Melissa Parker Draper.

The competition is unique among many business case and plan competitions in its focus on data science’s application to create new ventures.

Since the fall, there has been a flurry of behind-the-scenes activity, said Amanda Mukengeshayi Brown, UTSA School of Data Science manager of strategic initiatives and competition organizer.

Out of several submissions, the six teams competing in the competition’s final round are from UTSA, UT Health San Antonio, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Rochester. The majority of the business plans submitted by the finalists center around data science in health care, but there are business plans that address housing and human resources as well. Brown said the applications were judged based on the feasibility of the concept behind each proposed business plan.

“In the initial stage we looked at the idea,” she explained. “Is this something that makes sense? Is it competitive? Is there a business out there that already exists and is doing the same thing? If so, that tells us the team hasn’t done their industry analysis. We’re focused on the business idea itself and how data science plays a role in it.”

For the final competition, however, Brown said a new panel of judges will be making their decisions on the innovation demonstrated by each team, the feasibility of their plan and how well the competitors are able to market their ideas.

“I cannot wait to see what this looks like. This is huge for UTSA and solidifies our reputation for what we’re trying to achieve as a Tier One research university,” Brown said.

Learn more about the Draper Data Science Business Plan Competition and the inaugural Los Datos Conference.

The public is invited to attend the Draper Data Science Business Plan Competition. It will be held at the Weston Conference Center (SPI 110D) at San Pedro I, located at 506 Dolorosa St. in San Antonio. Free parking is available at the UTSA Dolorosa Lot, located at 702 Dolorosa St.

A launch event called the inaugural Los Datos Conference 2023, hosted by the School of Data Science, will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, also in the Weston Conference Center. The conference will bring together experts in data science from diverse disciplines and sectors to share work that is creating a more equitable, informed, and secure world.

Christopher Reichert

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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

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