Gonzaga University’s Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program announces the winners of the sixth annual Business Plan Competition, held for the second year in collaboration with Eastern Washington University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Activities and Whitworth College’s School of Global Commerce and Management. The winners were named Friday, April 28 at an awards ceremony and reception at Gonzaga.
This year, for the first time, students from Washington State University were invited to participate. The competition was open to all graduate and undergraduate students from the four participating institutions. A total of 79 teams, a record number, and more than 200 students entered the competition; 44 teams (with nearly 100 students) submitted plans across three categories. The expanded competition creates a valuable learning opportunity for more students and provides an incentive to create new commercial and social enterprises in the region.
A grant of $20,000 from the Herbert B. Jones Foundations made it possible for a total prize amount of $42,500 – the largest of any business plan competition in the Inland Northwest. Two major corporate sponsorships are also new this year. Itron has named the $10,000 first place prize in the Student-Generated category the “Itron Knowledge to Shape Your Future Award.” Avista has named the $7,500 first place prize in the Social Enterprise category the “Avista Social Impact Award” for the next three years.
The business plans went through one or two rounds of review resulting in the selection of nine finalist teams. The winners and other finalists of the competition are as follows:
STUDENT-GENERATED CATEGORY (Business ventures based on original student ideas.)
1st Place ($10,000 “Itron Knowledge to Shape Your Future Award”) -- Light House Entertainment (GU: Jordanna Chord and Becky Oelrich)
2nd Place ($5,000) -- BrightWave (WSU: Paul Dailey and Kent Bader)
3rd Place ($2,500) -- morgados (EWU: Richard Simpson)
COMMUNITY-BASED CATEGORY (Business venture ideas originated by entrepreneurs in the community.)
1st Place ($7,500) -- Summit Applied Technologies (Whitworth: Jeremiah Brack, Josh Breda, Jonathan Carlson, Brad Vardy and Joel Yinger)
2nd Place ($3,500) – Aluma Tug (GU: Rich Eneim and Jon Hendrickson)
3rd Place ($1,500) – Fast Construction Housing (Whitworth: Pierre Boyer, Anne Briggs, Jason Colvin, Seth Lowe, and Amber Matthai)
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE CATEGORY (Non-profit ventures.)
1st Place ($7,500 “Avista Social Impact Award”) - K & H, Inc. (EWU: Ronda Kenney and Judith Hutchinson)
2nd Place ($3,500) La Plaza (Whitworth: Sara Tanzi-Dunham and Rose Ayars)
3rd Place ($1,500) uConnection (GU: Michael Reph, Heather Rhodes, Rachel Harpole, Stuart Seger, Chris Staton, and Garrett Swanburg)
Business plans were judged by an independent panel of reviewers: Hank Artis – TechConnectNorth/INEEL; Gary Fievez – Corporate Resources, Inc; Victor Forni – United Way of Spokane County; Marc McConnell – Jireh Systems, Inc; Dan Roark – MatriCal; Jan Romerdahl – U S Bank; Dave Wingate – Washington State Commerce, Trade, and Economic Development; John Redford – Spokane Teachers Credit Union; John Overby – SIRTI; Linda Hemingway – SIRTI; April Spacek – Avista Utilities; Brad Herr – AC Data Solutions; Marla Telin – consultant; Billie Moreland – consultant; Liz Wilhite – consultant; Dennis Leidall – Connect NW; John Bacon – Bacon Consulting; Peter Mowery – SIRTI; Mark Williams – Bonner County Economic Development Committee.
The $42,500 total prize amount was contributed by the following organizations and individuals:
Major Sponsors: Herbert B. Jones Foundation, Itron, and Avista Utilities.
Sponsors: John and Suzanne Stone; PCO Inc.; Preston Gates Ellis; Spokane Teachers Credit Union; Sterling Savings Bank.
Contributors: Chuck Burgess; Evergreen Venture Capital Association; U S Bank; West Coast Hospitality Corporation; Wheatland Bank; AC Data Solutions; Sonderen Packaging; Paul Wham; Humanix.
In-Kind Contributors (Donate pro bono services to the winning teams): Desautel-Hege Communications; Inland Northwest Society of Consulting Professionals; Paine Hamblen Coffin Brooke & Miller, LLP; Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute; Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.
For more information, contact Gonzaga Professor Paul Buller, director of the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, at (509) 323-3438 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, visit http://www.gonzagaentrepreneur.com.
For more information about the EWU Center for Entrepreneurial Activities, visit www.ewu.edu/x3606.xml; and for more information about Whitworth College’s School of Global Commerce and Management, visit www.whitworth.edu/Academic/Department/SGCM/Index.asp