Gonzaga University’s Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program announces the winners of the seventh annual Business Plan Competition, held for the third 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 27 at an awards ceremony and reception at Gonzaga.
The competition was open to all graduate and undergraduate students from EWU, Gonzaga, Whitworth, and Washington State University. A total of 63 teams and more than 150 students entered the competition; 44 teams (with nearly 90 students) submitted plans across three categories. The 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 Foundation made it possible for a total prize amount of $42,500 – the largest of any business plan competition in the Inland Northwest. Telect has joined Itron and Avista as a major sponsor this year and has named the $7,500 first place prize in the Community-Based category the “Telect Entrepreneurial Venture Award.” 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.”
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”) – Shift 2 Green Biodiesel (EWU: Paul Fisher and Lynnette Munk).
• 2nd Place ($5,000) – HillGhillie Corporation (Whitworth: Emilie Olsen and Dustin Smith)
• 3rd Place ($2,500) – Food Runner Delivery (Whitworth: Mark Baker)
COMMUNITY-BASED CATEGORY (Business venture ideas originated by entrepreneurs in the community.)
• 1st Place ($7,500) – Hardy-Cone (WSU: Matthew Crouse and Victor Wirtanen)
• 2nd Place ($3,500) – Global NeTutors, Inc. (GU: Margi Begalka; Whitworth: Darien Brown, Brennan McQuerry)
• 3rd Place ($1,500) – Notary Privacy Guard (WSU: Derrick Powlison)
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE CATEGORY (Nonprofit ventures.)
• 1st Place ($7,500 “Avista Social Impact Award”) – Cool Water Bike Shop (Whitworth: Daniel Belko and Lewis Turner).
• 2nd Place ($3,500) Dominion Trading Company (Whitworth: Tim Coughlin and Sean Thompson).
• 3rd Place ($1,500) Girls Day Out (GU: Joey Lonjers, Rebecca Madden, and Areli Nathanson).
Business plans were judged by an independent panel of reviewers: Hank Artis – TechConnectNorth/INEEL; Mark Eppley – Fast Forward Strategy Group; Gary Fievez – Corporate Resources, Inc; Victor Forni; Dennis Leidall – Connect NW; Jeannine Marx – JM Recruiting; Marc McConnell – Jireh Systems, Inc; Jan Romerdahl – U S Bank; April Spacek – Avista Utilities; and Marla Telin – consultant.
The $42,500 total prize amount was contributed by the following organizations and individuals:
Major Sponsors: Herbert B. Jones Foundation, Itron, Telect, and Avista Utilities;
Sponsors: Sterling Savings Bank;
Contributors: Red Lion Hotels; U S Bank; Wheatland Bank; AC Data Solutions; Sonderen Packaging; and Paul Wham.
In-Kind Contributors (Donate pro bono services to the winning teams): Desautel-Hege Communications; Inland Northwest Society of Consulting Professionals; Northwest Venture Associates; Paine Hamblen Coffin Brooke & Miller, LLP.
For more information, contact Tom Tilford, director of the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, at (509) 323-7039 or via e-mail.
Visit the following link for more information about the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program,
For more information about the EWU Center for Entrepreneurial Activities, visit its Web site; and for more information about Whitworth College’s School of Global Commerce and Management see its Web site.