fowler business concept challenge
Elias Adams/University of St. Thomas

Celebrating 10 Years of Fowler Business Concept Challenge

The Fowler Business Concept Challenge, made possible through the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, is entering its 10th year of competition this year. This challenge encourages students to come up with a unique product or service targeted at certain, desired consumers. There are two different ways a graduate or undergraduate student can compete: either through the Business Concept Track, which focuses on traditional commercial projects, or the Social Venture Track, where the product or service attempts to solve social problems. The winner of each category, along with the runner-ups, receives a scholarship to be used towards bettering their presented concept. In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, we're looking back at past winners and the significant impact they had on the St. Thomas community and beyond.


Undergrad winner: 5th Corner Media

Matt Lichtfuss and Zach Neugebauer’s idea: Providing satellite music advertising in tanning beds.

Graduate winner: iApply

Derek Buschow, left, and Jeremiah Messerer, founders of, were the winners of the Fowler Business Challenge in 2009. / <i>Photo by Thomas Whisenand.</i>

Derek Buschow, left, and Jeremiah Messerer, were the winners of the Fowler Business Concept Challenge in 2009.

Derek Buschow and Jeremiah Messerer’s idea: Streamline applicant evaluations used by employers.


Undergrad winner: Student Frenzy

Matthew Scott and Sarah Tinsman

Graduate winner: Styptic fibrin bandage

Susan Wuollett and Michael Wuollett’s idea: A bandage that quickly halts clot bleeding.


Undergrad winner: Cognific

Solome Tibebu’s idea: An application for mental health patients and health care providers.

Graduate winner: Variable-camber wheelchair

Nick Wagner, John Beitelspacher, and Jesse Sumstad




Undergrad winner: The Pink Bow City Fashion Truck

Keona Tranby’s idea: A vintage clothing store on wheels.

Graduate winner: Coach

Aaron Engler’s idea: An application that helps restaurant management to better organize their establishment.



Undergrad winner: Coffee Rocks!

Dennis Gisch and Jacob Rocheford’s idea: A new form of iced coffee.

Graduate winner: Lou Lou Ingredients

Jane Kramer, Nana Yaa A. Dodi and Marine F. Melin’s idea: A website that helps give allergy-friendly meal information and recipes.

Social Venture winner: Fetch by Getitlocal

Benjamin Carlson’s idea: A web platform for small businesses to display products and services to local customers.


Undergrad winner: Unique Pontoons

Associate Dean of Entrepreneurship Brian Abraham, with 2016 St. Thomas Business Plan collegiate division winner Jeremy Little

Associate Dean of Entrepreneurship Brian Abraham, left, with Jeremy Little.

Jeremy Little’s idea: A pontoon that expands and contracts with a built-in trailer.

Graduate winner: Homeowner Tracker

Jacalyn Peterson, Mara Ryan, Amanda Klosner’s idea: An application for real estate agents to engage with customers.

Social Venture winner: NetZro: food waste recovery and reharvest

Suzanne Marshall’s idea: Increasing awareness of eliminating food and water waste.


Undergrad winner: EasyEatz

Scott Laska, Peter (Tim) van Laarhoven’s idea: Allow consumers to connect with people from other countries to buy authentic, home-cooked meals.

Graduate winner:

Julie Carlson’s idea: An online retailer of discount appliances.

Social Venture winner: elate

Katie Hasslinger and Aaron Redepenning’s idea: A Bluetooth menu reader bracelet for the blind.


Undergrad winner: ExpressionMed

Meghan Sharkus

Student Meghan Sharkus poses for a portrait on the third floor of the Anderson Student Center Nov. 29, 2016.

Meghan Sharkus’s idea: New-and-improved adhesives for those with diabetic needs.

Graduate winner: Chinese Overseas Students Social Network

Lu Chen’s idea: A platform to meet people and share useful information while studying abroad.

Social Venture winner: FinMoto

Sam Rystrom’s idea: An online media company that encourages young adults to improve their financial futures.


Business Concept winner: Safe in Sound

Savannah Hufendick

St. Thomas student Savannah Hufendick speaks during the Opus College of Business Schulze School of Entrepreneurship Fowler Business Concept Challenge in the Schulze Hall Auditorium on Nov. 17, 2017, in Minneapolis.

Savannah Hufendick’s idea: Earbuds that change volume to appropriate levels for ear protection.

Social Venture winner: Seraph 7 Studios

Jules Michelle Seraph Porter’s idea: A diverse video game company that aims to empower social change.