WSU Undergraduate League 1st place winner:

“G-Force” with CB faculty: L-R: Joe Harris,

Brycen Tarr, and Len Jessup

WSU Graduate League 1st place winners: “Ciao Gusto”

with CB faculty: L-R: Joe Harris, Ka Po Jamie Law,

Diana Frey, Christina Baum, Yinlin Chang, and Len Jessup

PULLMAN, Wash. – High school students from Asotin and Mead, Wash., and an entrepreneur from Palouse, Wash., were among the winners in the annual Washington State University Business Plan Competition April 22-23.

Participants came from WSU campuses in Pullman, Tri-Cities and Spokane, the college’s international campuses in Brig, Switzerland and Chengdu, China, and the distance degree program.

Fifty-two teams presented their plans to a panel of judges from the business community, with the winning teams sharing cash and prizes totaling $150,000.

Organized by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the College of Business, the two-day event featured competitors in four divisions, including WSU undergraduate and graduate students, high school and non-student divisions.

Prior to the two-day event in Pullman, teams from the college’s international campuses held preliminary competitions judged by WSU faculty and International Advisory Board members, bringing the number of teams throughout the competition to more than 100. Two teams from Switzerland and one team from China traveled to Pullman to participate in the main event.

For the third time, the competition included a high school league, consisting of teams from Pullman, Sammamish, Mead and Asotin high schools. This is the fifth year that the competition included an open league, sponsored by the Port of Whitman.

“The business plan competition continues to be an outstanding learning opportunity for all of the participants,” said Len Jessup, director of the center. “They learn how to integrate everything else they’ve learned prior to the competition, how to plan for and launch a new venture and how to work with others. They have the opportunity to work directly with and learn from the judges, who are outstanding leaders in their various fields.

“We expect to continue to see more and more students and community members take advantage of this extraordinary experience,” he said.

WSU teams gave a 15-minute presentation followed by an intense 15-minute question and answer session with the judges. The high school and open league teams gave a 15-minute presentation followed by a 20-minute question and feedback session.

The panel of 54 judges included entrepreneurs from successfully launched businesses, venture capitalists, angel investors and bankers. Judges based their evaluations on the following criteria: quality of the team; quality of the concept; quality of the written plan; quality of the presentation; and whether they would invest in the idea.

One winner from each of the WSU student leagues continued on to present on the second day; the high school and open competitions were completed in the first day.

Awards for the competition were as follows:

WSU Undergraduate League
First place honors: G-Force
Member: Brycen Tarr

WSU Graduate League
First place honors: Ciao Gusto
Members: Christina Baum, Yinlin Chang, Diana Frey, and Ka Po Jamie Law

Open League
First place honors: Palouse Spirits
Member: Joe Fondahn

High School League (tie)
First place honors: Torn Scooters
Member: Riley Hughes (Asotin High School)
First place honors: Jawaani
Members: Sana Amin, Alessa Midthying and Katijene Stime (Mead High School)

Awards also were presented to the following teams for:  

Best green or environmentally sustainable plans:
Straight Power: Anthony Reale and Travis Scholz
Airphoria: Donghyeon Gim, Jonathon W. Lucas, Kristine Maines, and Zirui Wang
Ambient Energy: Craig Murchison, Chris Perish, Casey Schober, and Lyubov Yurgel
Tribo-Tex: Gary Fielding and Pasha Rudenko

Best social entrepreneur:
WFS International: Erica Bartlett, Desmond Chow, Josh Ryan, and Sarah Sneesby
WSU Mashavu: Ben Hornsey, Chase Livingston, Shante Martinez, and Andrea Slonecker
Global Archives: Daniel Antal, Jaennae Kuykendall, and Stephanie Mohr
Wine by Cougars: Jennifer Frei, Kelsey McBride, and Ryan Ross

Most passionate entrepreneur:
Gaylene Anderson (Solanux); Christina Baum (Ciao Gusto); Pasha Rudenko (Tribo-Tex); and Brycen Tarr (G-Force)

Best presenter:
Kathryn Esslebach (MELK, Inc.); Ryan Rickenback (Eye Dot, LLC ); Brycen Tarr (G-Force); Kramer Walberg (Badger Braces); Adam Warr (Marzoot); and  Allen Winzler (Cycle Box)

Best Boeing team:
SJ3 Consulting: Samantha Damiano, Jeff Doan, J.J. Fairbanks, and Johnathan Slack

The mission of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is, through teaching, scholarly research, and outreach, to enable students, business leaders, managers of governmental agencies, scientists, policy makers, and others to better capitalize on their ideas, inventions, and innovations. The center is aimed not only at helping to assist new venture development but also preparing entrepreneurial leaders and improving commercialization within existing organizations. For more information about the WSU Business Plan Competition and the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, visit the center’s website at:  

The WSU College of Business 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 website at