What started with more than 50 Oklahoma State University student teams submitting 10-page business plans for the 2018 accelerateOSU Business Plan Competition was narrowed to 12 finalists, ending with seven winners.
The 12 finalists each presented their idea in a 10-minute, “Shark Tank-styled” presentation to the competition judges and attendees at downtown Stillwater’s Backstage on Feb. 16. The judging panel was compiled of local professionals and entrepreneurs. Top prizes ranged from $2,000-$8,000.
“The accelerateOSU business plan competition was an amazing showcase of our student’s entrepreneurial dreams,” says Haley Marie Keith, accelerateOSU coordinator. “To see them work so hard to write the business plan and deliver the pitch in front of judges who were all entrepreneurs, angels, or bankers themselves was extremely rewarding. I am so proud of our program and thankful for all who participated, volunteered, and made the event a success!”
The accelerateOSU Competition is an annual business plan competition hosted by the OSU Riata Center for Entrepreneurship and the Institute of New Venture Creation. The purpose of this competition is to promote student entrepreneurship and small business development.
The 2018 competition had two competition tracks for students to compete: Main Street Business and High Tech Business.
The Main Street first-place winner was Vertical, led by Miseal Hernandez. Vertical's plan is a venture fund that specializes in monetarily supporting Latino firms that have trouble accessing the sufficient capital at startup and growth stages allowing them to scale at a reasonable rate.
The High Tech first-place winner was Multivate, headed by students Momen Amer and Austin Beaver. The Multivate plan is to create multi-chamber, single-use bioreactors to help biopharmaceutical drug manufacturers reduce costs associated with purchasing and qualifying equipment, reducing factory footprint, simplifying the process and minimizing risk of microbial contamination, resulting in saving millions of dollars per year.
The other placers:
Main Street: second place – STEAK (Safe Temperature Estimator at A Klick), a plan by Joyjit Saha and Imran Selim, designed as a service-providing company selling software and APP-based solutions which could potentially save millions of dollars through its cooking validation studies by providing low-cost technology solutions; third place – Bubble Calm, a plan devised by Walter Bowser and Will Petty with the purpose of providing an anxiety relieving gum that is fast acting and easily accessible at a competitive price.
High Tech: second place – Indra, a plan by ShawnDea Dunzy and Dilli Dikhal focused on lightning strike protection through lightweight, conductive, flexible films to be sold to primary and secondary structure manufacturers; third place – EcoOxyHydroGen, a plan by Leena Singh centered around developing low-cost technology to make renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water.
The crowd favorite award went to Main Street finalist Lizzie J., LLC, created by Lizzie Johnson. This business plan sells high-quality, fashionable pet apparel and matching accessories for pet owners online and at specialty boutiques, with a portion of all profits donated to support children in Haiti.
By Mallory Thompson