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Simmons Hosts Business Plan Competition, Awards $10,000 Prize

Michelle Conceison, founder of Market Monkeys music marketing company, wins first-place award

BOSTON (January 23, 2006) — The founder of an integrated music marketing and management company got a major boost recently, when she won the $10,000 grand prize in the first annual Silverman Business Plan Competition held at the Simmons College School of Management, the only business school designed specifically for women.

Michelle Conceison, a 2003 graduate of Simmons School of Management (SOM), beat six finalists with her business plan on Market Monkeys, a two-year-old Cambridge/Boston-based technology and service company that is at the cutting edge of sweeping changes taking place in the music industry. Market Monkeys offers independent music artists and managers services and technology expertise to more effectively promote and sell their music in an ever-growing digital entertainment age.

Before a packed room of more than 100 attendants, Conceison delivered a 10-minute presentation summary of her business plan to six distinguished judges (see below) who said they were impressed by "her passion for the music business, excellent plan execution, knowledge of the music industry and of digital technology, and realistic vision and financial goals."

Market Monkeys seeks to open channels through technology to independent artists, especially folk musicians, for marketing and sale of their music, tapping into the rapidly changing music market that has experienced a dramatic increase in digital media consumption, such as downloading and electronic advertising.

The Silverman Business Plan Competition is named for Lois Silverman, founder of CRA Managed Care (now Concentra Managed Care), and founding chair of The Commonwealth Institute. This inaugural competition is the capstone for the Simmons School of Management's MBA Entrepreneurship Initiative, and will serve as a catalyst for alumnae working to start-up entrepreneurial businesses for years to come, said SOM Dean Deborah Merrill-Sands.

Sylvia Salas '03 was the second place winner for her business plan for Hobby Xpress, a retail hobby shop she says will provide expert service and quality model products and accessories to model hobby enthusiasts.

The judging panel was led by Lois Silverman, founder of CRA Managed Care (now called Concentra Managed Care), a provider of services to reduce the costs of workers' compensation, automobile, disability, and health insurance claims; and also included Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a marketing strategy consulting firm; Gail Deegan, a 1978 SOM graduate who recently retired as the former executive vice president and chief financial officer of Houghton Mifflin Company; Gretchen Fox, a 1987 SOM graduate and founder and president of Fox Relocation Management Corporation; Judy Mann, a 1983 Simmons College graduate and founder and president of Freemiums®/Capital Design Inc., a company that manufacturers and imports custom designed promotional items; and Val Thompson, founder of National Diaper Warehouse (NDW), an online retailer specializing in nationwide delivery of brand name disposable diapers.

The Simmons School of Management, ( the only business school in the world designed specifically for women, is committed to advancing women of diverse backgrounds into leadership.