PULLMAN – The WSU College of Business has announced the winners of its 2007 Fall WSU Business Plan Competition.
The competition, held on the Pullman campus Nov. 30, included 16 student teams from the Pullman and Tri-Cities campuses. Hosted by the WSU Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the College of Business, the competition was comprised of four student leagues, with a total of 50 students participating.
The first place winners in the Huber League were Kyle Hart (Entrepreneurship) and Miguel Villa (Management Information Systems) for their concept, EasyFill, an innovative new product that assists consumers in filling zip-lock bags. Their company is Kitchen Works Inc., a creative product engineering company that develops simple, economical solutions to everyday problems. Their mission is to design products that are easy to use and inexpensive to buy while still maintaining their functionality in their place in the home.

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.

The WSU College of Business is accredited at the baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The college spans the four campuses of WSU with the largest campus in Pullman and urban campuses located in Spokane, Vancouver,and the Tri-Cities area. The college conducts scholarly and applied research, and offers degree programs in a variety of business disciplines, and in hospitality business management, supplementing face-to-face offerings through innovative online learning and international programs.
For more information, visit the college’s Web site at www.business.wsu.edu.