In the Markin League, WaterCycle took first place honors for their non-profit organization aimed at improving irrigation methods in third world countries. Team members Cory Cole (Bio Engineering), Brendan Dallas (Mechanical Engineering), Angel Hall (Bio Engineering), and Kyle Hart (Entrepreneurship) presented a prototype of a bicycle-powered irrigation pump that transfers the energy of an individual pedaling the bike into flow energy of water going through pipes used to irrigate larger areas of land.
Ali Arian (Entrepreneurship), Jeremy Cross (Communications), Chris Henry (Entrepreneurship), and BryanSaftler (Entrepreneurship) took first place in the Sparks League for their student run organization, FreeInke, which creates uniquely-designed university apparel for students and alumni. The company plans to offer a more trendy approach to branded apparel through a cutting edge Web site, allowing users to submit designs for which clothing will be produced based on popularity and current market trends.
BioAcoustics Inc., a manufacturing company for research institutions, universities and pharmaceutical laboratories who use rats in their research, won in the Parachini League. Team members Samuel Bechara (Bio Engineering), King Lun Li (Bio Engineering), Jennifer Loeppke (Entrepreneurship), and Allen Peloquin (Computer Sciences) created the Lab R.A.T. (Rodent Acoustic Tester), a device that employs microphones to pick up ultrasonic emissions given by rats, which in turn detects their psychological well-being. The idea stems from studies being done which prove that happy rats are more accurate in test results and by using the Lab R.A.T., researchers will all but eliminate present-day errors that are occurring through the usage of unhappy rats.
The teams’ written and presented business plans were then evaluated on the quality of the idea; the quality of the communication of the idea (written and oral); the likelihood of success of the plan; and demonstrated knowledge of the entrepreneurial process. The winning team from each league was given scholarship money for their WSU accounts, as well as invaluable advice and critiques from the judges.
The fall competition is a precursor to the spring event, where many of the fall teams will return for atwo-day competition after having revised and improved their business plans. The spring event also includes an open-league competition, sponsored by the Port of Whitman, for non-student entries from around the Palouse region to present their business plans with the hope of winning seed money for their proposals.
Judges for this year’s event were: Terry Chambers, business development specialist, SBDC Spokane; Doug Cox, commercial loan officer, American West Bank; Lee Gibbs, commercial loan officer, Zion’s Bank; Pat Murphy, principal, Lawrence Associates LLC; Thomas Nihoul, senior financial advisor, Nihoul & Associates; Brett Rogers, state director, SBDC; Mike Senske, president/CEO, Pearson Packaging Systems; Bill Skavdahl, manager, American West Bank; Rich Smith, commercial loan officer, Bank of Whitman; Mike Tompkins, president, Collision on Wheels; Chip Treverton, VP, Corbis, and Jan Romerdahl, senior VP, US Bank.