Home » Student venture teams' ideas ring in success at annual business plan competition – WSU Insider – WSU News

Student venture teams' ideas ring in success at annual business plan competition – WSU Insider – WSU News

by Arifa Rana

Finding innovative solutions to improving life after COVID-19 was a collective theme at Washington State University’s 19th annual Business Plan Competition Thursday, April 28. Four of the top five college teams developed apps that address issues ranging from health care and scholarships to improved event parking – benefiting anyone with a mobile device. 
The other team in the top five has developed a superior cheesecake business – benefiting the Pullman community. 
Bloom walked away as the winner of the Herbert B. Jones $15,000 grand prize.
Developed by WSU engineering seniors Zaya Tsengelmaa and Danielle Hurley, the app matches first-generation students in Washington state with regional scholarship providers, increasing their chances of securing a local scholarship that has been overlooked by national scholarship websites.
The WSU Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) hosted the hybrid multi-stage competition where 110 student venture teams competed in three different leagues, representing nearly 297 students from colleges and high schools throughout Washington and Idaho. More than 120 entrepreneurs, investors and industry leaders joined virtually and in person to judge the competition.
Venture teams in the Open League and the High School league participated in two fully virtual rounds, a screening round and final presentations on Friday, April 22. Venture teams in the WSU College League competed virtually in two preliminary rounds where the final five teams advanced to the in-person finals hosted on WSU’s campus, Thursday, April 28. 
Student teams presented their business ideas and competed for cash and in-kind prizes totaling more than $75,000.
The winning teams for all three leagues were invited to an awards banquet featuring keynote speaker Trey Lauderdale, serial entrepreneur and investor, immediately following the College League final round. In addition to the College League’s Herbert B. Jones grand prize winner, two other teams earned first place awards and grand prize money at the awards banquet. 
The University of Washington team Ultropia won first place in the Open League. Led by cofounders Cody Birkland, Lloyd Dees and Amy Swanson, Ultropia is developing the first ultrasonic all-in-one washer and dryer that will help people with limited access to laundry machines. 
In the High School League, Perfect Pillow won first place. Sammamish High School students Corentin Ogier, Kelan Palmer and Chetan Sidhu are the cofounders of Perfect Pillow, a company that sells custom pillows.  
Student venture teams in this year’s competition represented diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, majors, genders and ethnicities. Founding teams represented more than 20 different academic majors including construction management, multimedia journalism, electrical engineering, hospitality, software engineering and many more. In addition, teams included many first-generation students, student-athletes, and traditional and nontraditional business students.
“I am continually impressed by the high caliber teams that enter the competition each year and the innovative ideas they present,” said Marie Mayes, director of the WSU CES. “I am even more impressed by the diversity within our founder teams this year, many of whom are not from traditional business fields of study. Their success testifies to the value of business education as a complement to a student’s primary area of study. An entrepreneurial mindset prepares students for success in existing firms and startups alike.” 
Ideas presented by this diverse group of students included a portable, battery-powered ice pack, image processing services to assess damages to rental cars and houses and a recycling shower utilizing less than two gallons of water. 
Academic and industry professionals judged teams based on a variety of factors, including presentation, value proposition, go-to-market strategy, investment analysis, financials and more. The teams also were evaluated on the merit of their ideas and business plans.
In addition to sponsoring the grand prizes, the Herbert B. Jones Foundation sponsored merit awards worth $2,500 each for best-written plan, best presentation, best technology venture and best social impact business. Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU) sponsored a FinTech merit prize, awarded to the team that presented the most innovative idea in the financial technology space. In the High School league, the Morning Star Foundation sponsored all the prizes except for the grand prize, which is sponsored by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation and Idaho Capital Ventures.
WSU College League:
Open League: 
High School League:
Merit Prize Winners:
The group of WSU musicians received the Graduate College Large Jazz Ensemble award from the magazine for recordings they made while the university was online only.
The group of WSU musicians received the Graduate College Large Jazz Ensemble award from the magazine for recordings they made while the university was online only.
Joy Egbert received the award in recognition of her work integrating the Halo Augmented Reality App into the Educational Escape Room located in the Department of Teaching and Learning in Pullman.
WSU System President Kirk Schulz also highlighted the hiring of a new dean for the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences and a record-setting $20 million donation during the Friday meeting.
Biochemistry Professor John Browse and anthropology Professor Tim Kohler were elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their achievements in original research.
Aryan Deshwal has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the world’s top researchers in math and computer science this fall. He plans to ask them how they first thought of their revolutionizing ideas.
Petrick will be honored at the Small Business Development Center’s national conference in September. WSU is the statewide host of the Washington SBDC, and Petrick is an employee of WSU.
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Joy Egbert received the award in recognition of her work integrating the Halo Augmented Reality App into the Educational Escape Room located in the Department of Teaching and Learning in Pullman.
The group of WSU musicians received the Graduate College Large Jazz Ensemble award from the magazine for recordings they made while the university was online only.

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