Business plan competition winners awarded

The Washington State University College of Business has announced the winners of its fourth annual WSU Business Plan Competition. The competition, held on the Pullman campus April 13 and 14, included 21 student teams from the Pullman campus and four open, non-student entries from the Palouse region.

Hosted by the WSU Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the College of Business, the competition was comprised of six student leagues and one open league, which was sponsored by the Port of Whitman. This was the first year there was an open league for non-students, as well as the first year there were separate graduate and undergraduate leagues. Total prize money for this year’s event was $60,000.

First place honors for undergraduate students went to Barrett Darnell, Ryan Johnson and Rylan MacCay for Bear BEWARE!, a device that is intended to alert bears to the presences of hikers in the wilderness in a non-intrusive manner allowing hikers peace of mind while enjoying the outdoors. Second place honors went to Robocalf for their remote-controlled device used for practicing calf roping, and third place honors to Agilis Outdoors for recreational backpack-sleeping bag combination.

The graduate winners in first place honors were Jenerra Camozzi, Huei-Chun Chen, and Amber Gilman for Berra Boutique, an eCommerce site that allows user to purchase new or gently-used formal dresses that can be sold back to the company after use to make formal wear more affordable. Second place honors went to MODAMP for their ventilation system for residential and commercial buildings, and third place honors to VHC Diagnostics for their animal diagnostic test development company.

Open league winners were announced during dinner after the first day of presentations, co-hosted by the Palouse Economic Development Council. First place honors were awarded to Lee Ann Literal for Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy, a mental health service that uses interactive activities in place of traditional therapy sessions. Second place honors went to Steve Teare for Hot & Cool Studios, a photography supply company selling hardware and software creativity tools for small design and photography studios, third place honors went to Neil Cox for Multinational Tourism Co., a tour company offering hands-on experience of the “wild west,” and fourth place honors went to Kirby Dailey for RossCo., a company creating moisture analysis tools for the agriculture industry.

“The students were extremely well-prepared, the competition itself was fierce, and the organization of the event was incredibly smooth,” said competition judge Steve Edmiston of Invicta Law Group, PLLC in Seattle, Wash. “This was my first opportunity to participate, and in all respects it exceeded my expectations.”

The panel of judges included members of the business community: entrepreneurs from successfully launched businesses, those who are
currently participating in an innovative business, or venture capitalists. Judges based their evaluations on the following criteria: 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 business plan competition is an outstanding learning opportunity for our students. The participation of business community elevates it beyond the normal academic experience. Students listen closely to the advice and suggestions of the judges and inevitably say that this is the highlight of their semester,” said Jerman Rose, associate dean of Undergraduate Programs and director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “We expect to continue to see more and more students take advantage of this extraordinary experience.”

For information on the competition, and how to get involved, visit www.business.wsu.edu/Entrepreneurship or call (509) 335-2180.

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