September 27, 2010

Entrepreneurship contest, speaker set for Oct. 12

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The regional finals of the statewide 2010 Innovate Illinois competition and the second installment of the new “Where Great Minds and Big Ideas Connect Speaker Series” from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Entrepreneurship and Business Development unit dovetail at a special event Oct. 12.

Chuck Templeton, founder of and chairman of, is the keynote speaker for the meeting from noon to 1 p.m. at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center at 150 East Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale. The Southern Area Innovate Illinois Competition that day will give new local businesses the opportunity to advance to the statewide competition, where thousands of dollars in prize money await winners.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Southern Area Innovate Illinois Competition awards announcement at 1 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale. For more information, contact Robyn Laur Russell at 618/453-3805.

Templeton holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from California Polytechnic State University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston. He founded OpenTable, Inc., listed on NASDAQ since May 2009. It is a leading provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners, and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants.

Templeton, who is formerly from California, has lived in Chicago since 2002 and is a frequent speaker at Chicago area business and leadership events. He also characterizes himself as an environmental alarmist, working with environmental and sustainability initiatives. He is currently a board member and technology adviser for, an organization that promotes Chicago green community efforts and the sharing of information and practices. His goal is creating a zero net energy block in Chicago.

Templeton will also serve on the judging panel for the semi-finals of the Southern Area Innovate Illinois Competition. Following an 8 a.m. continental breakfast, contestants in the early stage portion of the contest, for those who have an idea for an innovative product, service or process with a lasting economic impact, will make their presentations beginning at 9 a.m. Following a short intermission, the judging of the late stage presentations begins at 10:45 a.m. This stage is for new companies that have recently created or implemented an innovative process, service or process that is already having an economic impact in Illinois.

Templeton will speak at noon, followed by the announcement of the Innovate Illinois ( Southern Region Award winners at 1 p.m. Two businesses from each development stage will advance to the state competition, where they will compete against the winners from the central and northern Illinois semi-finals, set for Oct. 20 and Oct. 27, respectively. The six early and six late stage finalists will meet in Chicago Dec. 16 and make seven-minute presentations in front of a panel of judges including representatives of entrepreneurship and investment. The top finisher in each category wins a $30,000 cash prize while the first runners-up will win $10,000.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, an affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, are joint administrators of the Innovate Illinois Program. Now in its sixth year, the contest has given 33 statewide winners $530,000 in cash and prizes while creating 500 new jobs and securing $20 million in financing.

For more information about attending the event, contact Robyn Laur Russell at 618/453-3805 no later than Oct. 8.