On April 27, 25 teams of undergraduate students from across North America will gather in Minneapolis for the seventh annual e-Fest business competition, which has awarded more than $1.5 million to hundreds of young entrepreneurs since its inception in 2017. Two teams from the University of St. Thomas are in the running.
Hosted by the University of St. Thomas Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, e-Fest is a national business competition for any undergraduate student pursuing any degree at any four-year college or university in North America. The three-day event provides a unique learning experience and immeasurable networking opportunities for young entrepreneurs. With $215,000 in cash prizes, e-Fest is also one of the top cash prize competitions in the country.
In addition to competing against and connecting with other entrepreneurs, students have the opportunity to participate in workshops led by industry experts and receive feedback on their business ventures from experienced entrepreneurs who serve as judges for the four separate competitions. Richard M. Schulze, founder and executive chairman at Best Buy, will be the keynote speaker at e-Fest 2023. And this year’s panel of esteemed judges includes:
- Shawntera Hardy, former commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
- Angelina Lawton, founder and CEO, Sportsdigita
- Damian Novak, board chairman, Fresh Vine Wine
- Tim Welsh, vice chair of Consumer and Business Banking, U.S. Bancorp
- Ann Winblad, co-founding partner, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners
Minnesota universities are well-represented, with three teams from across the state competing. And for the second year in a row, two teams from the University of St. Thomas have been selected as finalists.
The three teams from Minnesota are:
Chemco, University of St. Thomas
Chemco reclaims raw materials from lithium-ion batteries in an effective and sustainable manner.
Epiblock, University of St. Thomas
Epiblock is a mouth-inserted medical device that restricts blood flow to the nasal cavity and surrounding area. Its primary function is similar to a tourniquet for the nose, stopping nosebleeds at the source, however it also aids in a wide variety of surgical and cosmetic facial procedures.
Greenscapes, University of Minnesota-Crookston
Greenscapes is bringing sustainability to the golf industry by converting recycled glass into sand for course bunkers and topdressing maintenance. As the world's first and only alternative to natural sand, we are pioneering a new use for America's unused plethora of recyclable glass and helping to alleviate our global sand shortage.
The number of new businesses in the U.S. has been growing significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics, around 5 million new businesses were created in in 2021, which was a 55% increase compared to 2019. That trend is expected to continue, and the University of St. Thomas Schulze School of Entrepreneurship is pleased to welcome the next generation of entrepreneurial minds to campus.
“We are excited for another tremendous year of celebrating and rewarding talented undergraduate entrepreneurs across the nation,” said Jessica Cooley, interim associate dean at the University of St Thomas Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. “e-Fest gives students the opportunity to showcase their ventures, hone their pitches, expand their network, and receive valuable feedback and seed capital to take their ventures to the next level.”
The 25 teams participating in this year’s competition are:
- 4U Medical Designs, Rowan University
- Brainable, Loyola Marymount University
- Breaking Crucial Boundaries, LLC, Western Michigan University
- Chemco, University of St. Thomas
- DioTeX Diagnostics, Johns Hopkins University
- Elythea, Brown University
- Epiblock, University of St. Thomas
- Evendtor, Beloit College
- FullFlock, University of Pennsylvania
- Greenscapes, University of Minnesota-Crookston
- Just Pause, Grove City College
- Lectra, West Chester University
- Menta, Loyola Marymount University
- Mitey Bites, State University of New York at Plattsburgh
- NextMed, University of British Columbia
- NIX Labs, LLC, Florida Gulf Coast University
- Omnis, Auburn University
- OnPoint Ventilation, Johns Hopkins University
- ParaWave, Ohio State University
- Rarities Market, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
- ReadyCloth, Florida Gulf Coast University
- Recreated by Rey, University of Northern Iowa
- Smart Dorm, University of Montana
- Sprout to Life Microgreens, California State University Sacramento
- Tadpole, Northeastern University
e-Fest is sponsored by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, and EIX.org, a nonprofit online platform for entrepreneurship education.