Almost $60,000 in scholarships were awarded in the Eighth Annual Fowler Business Concept Challenge. For the challenge, held annually in the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, participating students develop and submit concepts with potential to become viable, high-growth businesses. Entries are judged on originality, clear and compelling value proposition, competitive advantage, market opportunity and feasibility.
This year's participants represented more than 25 academic programs.
- Winner and Best Presenter: ExpressionMed, Meghan Sharkus (Entrepreneurship)
- First Runner-up: Support the Girls, Julia Zappa (Communication Arts and Literature, Middle/Secondary Education)
- Second Runner-up: DermaScan, Jessica Bremseth (Electrical Engineering) and Emma Koller (Electrical Engineering)
- Third Runner-up: Earth Worm, William Hancuch (Economics and Political Science) and Rose Whitney-Eliason (Marketing and Political Science)
ExpressionMed's concept is dedicated to improving the education, design appeal and safety of insulin kits for children with diabetes. To fight the stigma associated with insulin pumps, ExpressionMed aims to improve the daily care experience of children with Type 1 diabetes by introducing a two-part design system that expands the surface area of the device’s adhesive, making it less likely to fall off when they are away from a parent; adds an element of design, allowing them to choose what their devices look like and display their unique interests; and uses complementary images to make explaining the device’s function a fun story that is easy to understand and remember.
Social Venture Division
- Winner: FinMoto Media, Sam Rystrom (Business Administration)
- First Runner-up: Compost-Able, Keller Knoll (Enrepreneruship) and Derek Ogren (Entrepreneurship)
- Second Runner-up and Best Presenter: Project HAL, Sarah Nelson (Entrepreneurship)
- Third Runner-Up: F-BOM, Jasmine Kwan (MBA) and Lindsey Taveren (MBA)
FinMoto Media is an online media company that aims to empower American young adults to create a better financial future for themselves and their families. It does this by creating the resources young adults need and disseminating them on the mediums where they consume content. FinMoto would accomplish this by creating articles, videos and interactive tools on subject areas such as student loans, retirement investing, financial planning, budgeting, housing and travel, and then leverage the power of social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
- Winner: Chinese Overseas Students Social Network, Lu Chen (MBA)
- First Runner-up and Best Presenter: CreatiCUBE, Nicolas Styles (Leadership in Education)
- Second Runner-up: ReviveChemicals, Ankit Agarwal (MBA), Gautam Naroji (MBA) and Julian Ocampo (MBA)
- Third Runner-up: Regeneration Development LLC, John Mullaney (Master in Financial Real Estate)
The Chinese Overseas Students Social Network would create a social networking platform that allows Chinese students either already studying in the United States, or who are planning to study in the same city in the United States, to find one another, so they can make new friends and share useful local information with each other.
The Fowler Business Concept Challenge is named for 1966 St. Thomas graduate Ron Fowler, chairman and CEO of Liquid Investments Inc. Gifts to the university from Fowler, Alan and Marcia Bignall, Joseph and Dawn Keller, Will and Ellen Hoeg, the Cade Family, Peter Seidler and the Charles Kubly Entrepreneurial Scholarship have made the annual competitions possible.