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Finalists Advance In Business Plan Competition


JONESBORO – Seven finalists for the oral presentation, 11 for the live pitch competition and eight freshman video pitch entries will participate in the final round of Arkansas State University’s 2017 Fall Business Plan Competition, Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 9 a.m. in the executive board room (203) of the Delta Center for Economic Development, 319 University Loop Circle.

The event is free and open to the public. The award ceremony may be viewed live at Facebook.com/EntASU/ starting at 12:55 p.m. The Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation, a unit of Arkansas Capital Corporation Group (ACCG), a privately held group of for-profit and non-profit corporations dedicated to improving the lives of Arkansans by providing capital to help businesses, sponsors the event.

Dr. Erick Chang, associate professor of management and event coordinator, noted that judges in the final round include Brandon French from New Wave Wireless, Bobby Lorimer from Textbook Brokers, Brock Ferguson from Centennial Bank and Ty Keller, director of the A-State Innovation System.

“In our 10th year, we received 38 entries with 141 participants that ranged from incoming freshmen to graduate students from four colleges,” said Chang, “Our first round of judging has not changed over the recent years as we are fortunate to keep the engagement of our alumni living abroad and also here in Jonesboro as well as a network of entrepreneurs, professionals and professors.

“This really gives consistency and improves the quality of the submissions. We are really proud that our students get virtual support and advice from individuals living in Europe, Asia and Latin America. I am not aware that similar competitions in the world can make the same statement.”

The competition awards a total of $2,500 in cash that comes from the cumulative winnings that A-State has won in the last three Governor’s Cups. For the final round, the freshman category will record video elevator pitches that will be judged online, and the best proposal will win $250. The business plan category offers a winning prize of $750 and $250, for the most innovative idea. The live elevator pitch winner will take $250. Additional monetary prizes will be given to finalists.

The results for the preliminary round are the following:

Freshman category: 27 entries judged by College of Business faculty including Dr. Shane Hunt, Dr. Philip Tew, Sheena Gammon, and Kerry Tew.

Freshman finalists

  1. Disaster Box (Zane Brown and Olivia Langston): A storage device to protect valuables from fire and water-related incidents.
  2. Fantastic Five (Bailey Dunn, Whitley Austin, Jordan Harris, Allie Bostic and Chesney Ross): A clothing company designed to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.
  3. Greenprints (Anna Raffor, Kasey Williams, Destiny Ervin and Kelsey Brumley): Assisting businesses to cut down on pollution, water usage and energy consumption.
  4. Plastic Lumber (Rhett Bryant, Rhett Fussell, Ty Cornelius and Bret Fuller): Recycling plastic to use for decking as a lumber alternative.
  5. The Power Puff Girls (Candance Gottsponer, Maddie Archer and Mariah Odom): Selling power shower products where proceeds will be used for sending students and teachers to work in disaster areas.
  6. SGP Inc. (Thomas Siedge, Logan Greenwood and Tucker Philips): A cost-efficient first aid kit.
  7. U-Space (Cynthia Barham, Nathan McMinn and Evan Pillow): A parking solution.
  8. Watr (Clayton Lenderman, Brandon Little, DeMichael Harris and Caleb Dean): Selling Filtrella, a high-quality umbrella with a water filtration system.

Business plan category: All 11 entries will compete for the live elevator pitch and the top seven advance to the oral presentation stage. The first-round judging panel included Dr. Gail Hudson and Clint Vogus from the College of Business; Laura Miller from the ASTBDC; Morgan Jines, alumna and prior business plan winner; Garrett Barnes, alumnus and owner of MultiLink Realty; Michael K. Reiter, MBA graduate from Hass Food Equipment Austria; Michael Gugenberger, MBA graduate from Australian airlines Austria; Daniel Westerkamp, alumnus and owner of Vintessa in Germany; Dr. Esra Memili from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro; Dr. Magdy Noguera from the University of Idaho; Juan Jose Pratdesaba from Jiva, Guatemala; Federico Ochoa from Grupo Mexicano de Desarrollo Mexico; Sergio Davila from Telefonica Guatemala; Lucia Chang from Conduent Guatemala; Charles Fullen, MBA graduate from Communities Unlimited; and Prahalat (Tony) Srisupandit from Thailand.

Business Plan Finalists

  1. Ala Rurru (Nate Hills, Aleks Jaksic, Dylan Bly and Parker Sparrow): A serape-made hammock to prevent sudden infant death syndrome in Hispanic newborns.
  2. Automated Logistics Providers (Weston Wagner, Takara Warren, Chelsey West and Kyle Fouts): A system for truck-loading automatization in distribution centers.
  3. KAZ Corp (Kaori Kitamura and Chengwei Zheng): Robonurse – A multi-device detection system to help the elderly with checking vital signs, blood pressure and glucose.
  4. Mobile Billboards (Dylan Quickel, Brandon Day, Jacob Green and Tyler Clement): A system for placing advertising on rear windows of vehicles.
  5. Nutrisphere (Caelen Baxter, Yagiz Akkoc, Marco Kirkwood and Jordan Shourd): A ready-to-eat nutritious sphere for athletes and outdoors enthusiasts.
  6. RuGuard (Nathan Buie, Joshua Goldsmith, David Gross and Neil Maestri): A mouthpiece to detect potential concussion problems for rugby players during play.
  7. Sili-Girlz (Peyton Roe, Tionne Crutchfield, Leslie Rogers and Samantha Gatewood): A laundry basket that stores clothing during washing and drying cycles.

Live Elevator Pitch Participants

  1. Chariot (Lindsey Ford, Seth Clevenger and Michael Frederick): A basket to attach in wheelchairs or electric scooters to help users while shopping.
  2. Initiative Fractal (Edward Harthorn): Cut-rate grade restoration services in cemeteries.
  3. Lazy Lap Desk (Whitney Roberts, David “Lenny” Clark, Melanie Starks and Kadrianne Roberts): A lap desk for tablets and laptops that includes a cooling fan and a charging station.
  4. Smartnotes (Tyler Waymire, Sebastian Martinez, Juan Garcia and Kirk Kalson): An interactive application to use with smartboards to transmit material from instructors to students.

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