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Two Harbert College Executive MBA, or EMBA, students at Auburn University have been chosen to compete April 6-8 in the Rice Business Plan Competition, the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition.

The business plan submitted by students Terry Namkung and Fred Parnell was chosen from more than 500 applications to the Rice Business Plan Competition in Houston. Namkung serves as CEO of DC Energy Systems, while Parnell is the quality assurance director.

The competition is hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which is Rice University's initiative devoted to the support of entrepreneurship, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. This is the 17th year for the competition. It has grown from nine teams competing for $10,000 in prize money in 2001 to 42 teams from around the world competing for more than $1.5 million in cash and prizes. A requirement for competition is that teams must be seeking outside equity capital for their ventures.

Namkung, of Yorktown, Virginia, and Parnell, of Pearland, Texas, were required to submit a five-page executive summary and one-minute video pitch for consideration in the competition. Rice announced the selection of its 42 competing teams on Feb. 27.

Their business plan centers on a low-voltage electronic power distribution panel that efficiently converts solar and commercial power (110 and 220-volt AC) to low-voltage power (24-volt DC) that can drive electronic equipment, such as laptops, computers, televisions and LED lights, with no energy loss. The idea incorporates old and new technology for smooth transition from AC to DC. This power distribution panel is patented by Namkung’s DC Energy Systems.

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