Dr. Wilburn Clouse created the Business Plan Competition at WKU three years ago in hope of finding the next Bill Gates.

Clouse said that there are more than 50 people who have applied this year already, and they are hoping to attract even more students to participate.

"We are interested in stimulating new and innovative ideas on campus," said Clouse, who is the Executive Director of the Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at WKU.

Business plan contestants can turn their idea into money and win up to $5,000, Clouse said. However, he said the best thing is that the winners on campus will also compete at the state level.

"There is $100,000 available at the state level for new business plan ideas," Clouse said.

The Business Plan contest is for WKU graduate and undergraduate students with creative business ideas and is sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation the Gordon Ford College of Business.

Applications are accepted until Feb. 23. The actual competition with presentations will start the week of March 15, and the winners will be announced the week after the competition.

Participants will be competing in four categories: undergraduate concept and graduate concept - which means having a good, workable idea - and undergraduate business plan and graduate business plan, which means a workable plan for a business start-up.

This contest is not only for business or entrepreneurship majors, Clouse said. There are people participating from all around the campus.

"It is amazing that we have 26 different majors who have indicated an interest in this," he said.

One of the participants in the Business plan Competition is Cincinnati junior Abby Egbers, who is a theatre major. This is the first time Egbers is participating in this competition, she said.

"This is a free opportunity to get not only a feedback on ideas but also a possibility to win $5,000," Egbers said.

Her ultimate goal is to open her own art center, Egbers said. However, she knows it's not that easy and that she needs help from somebody who knows better.

"Someday I hope to make it a business, but right now I just want better ideas on how I can make it a business," she said.

Bowling Green senior Justin Henderson is an entrepreneurship major. He participated in the Business Plan Competition last year. Henderson said he and his friend Jeff DeJarnette, a Bowling Green senior and engineering major, didn't win the competition. However, they got a great lesson that could help other students to succeed in this competition, Henderson said.

"The actual business plan was important, but I feel that presenting idea was the focal point of the competition," Henderson said. "Practice before you go there. Don't just try to wing it. That is never a good idea."

Egbers said she is confident that it is worth participating.

"What do you have to lose?" she asked.

To get more information about the competition, email will.clouse@wku.edu, krist.schell@wku.edu or jppropertiesbg@gmail.com.