On Friday, the Opus College of Business Schulze School of Entrepreneurship hosted its annual St. Thomas Business Plan Competition at Schulze Hall where $30,000 was on the line for budding entrepreneurs.
Ten teams – five from St. Thomas and five from local high schools – pitched their business plans to a panel of judges, who evaluated the students on the strength of their presentations. Winners in each division took home $10,000 with first runners-up earning $5,000.
“The St. Thomas Business Plan Competition is an excellent opportunity for St. Thomas and local high school students to showcase businesses they’ve recently started, or hope to start, with an opportunity to win cash prizes to continue to grow and expand upon their plans,” said Schulze School of Entrepreneurship Associate Dean Laura Dunham. “Students experience the thrill of pitching to a panel of seasoned professionals from the business community. At the end of the competition, whether or not they have won a cash prize, each student receives valuable feedback and insights to refine their business ideas.”
University of St. Thomas Division Finalists:
- Winner Klip-N-Sip – Jackson Buelow (Entrepreneurship), Jacob Mischke (Entrepreneurship), Kyle Schneider (Mechanical Engineering) and Tia Klaers (Entrepreneurship). Klip-N-Sip is a bottle attachment that fits perfectly on a student’s bed frame and just about any size bottle, allowing them to stay in bed and have a drink.
- First Runner-up AddictionU – Jay Louricas (Entrepreneurship) and Eric Martin (Entrepreneurship and Real Estate). Through an online storytelling and education platform, along with classroom speaking engagements, AddictionU seeks to serve and support children who are impacted by substance abuse of a family member.
- SeniorSpace – Amy Helgeson (Entrepreneurship)
- Solution HVAC – Adam Wrucke (Full-time MBA)
- TEco/Renew Power Systems Inc. – Zach Emond (MS in Electrical Engineering)
High School Division Finalists:
- Winner Pocket Perks – Ian Lim and Sharada Srivatsa (Maple Grove Senior High School). Pocket Perks is a direct marketing, e-commerce company that engages students, families and friends with local businesses. Using a membership card, buyers receive discounts and perks to a number of Maple Grove businesses; in turn, participating businesses receive feedback from customer purchasing habits.
- First Runner-up Solupal – Michael Cao, Diana Zhu, Vicky Li and Hufsa Ahmed (Mounds View High School). Solupal bags reduce plastic waste and allow convenient, sustainable shopping because of the simplicity of dissolving it in water when you wash it with your clothes.
- ClearWater Lake Weed Removal – Harry Koeppen, Austin Roberts and Will Pears (Minnetonka High School)
- TeKnowledge – Yonah Davis (St. Louis Park Senior High School)
- EzStrum – TJ Reeves, Sam Sims and Mark Sarles (Orono High School)