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OSU students have won $53,000 in prize money in the 2021 virtual Riata Business Plan Competition.

Students claim $53,000 in prize money in Riata Business Plan Competition

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Oklahoma State University School for Entrepreneurship and the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship have named the winners of the 2021 student competition to create business plans for innovative startups. The Riata Business Plan Competition at the Spears School of Business promotes entrepreneurship and small business development by focusing on student-created, -managed and -owned ventures.

This year’s virtual competition, which was open to any current OSU student regardless of discipline, attracted 26 business plan entries submitted by individuals and teams in four categories: Main Street Lifestyle businesses with products or services for a larger market; High Tech businesses with an intellectual property or technology component; Social Enterprise ventures that offer solutions to social, cultural or environmental issues; and Rising Entrepreneur, a new category this year for previous competition winners. Student entrepreneurs where required to produce a 10-page written business plan and present it as a slideshow to a panel of judges in the finals.

“The 2021 Riata Business Plan Competition was one of the best we have had,” said Marc Tower, executive director of the Riata Center. “Even in the midst of a pandemic and having to hold a virtual competition, we hosted a large group of high-quality entrants. The judges also did an exceptional job this year and had to make some very difficult decisions choosing the best from the best.”

Winners and business name:

Main Street Lifestyle

1st – Sarah Elzay and Emily Geest, Enlighten

2nd – Chris Greene, Smart Homed

3rd – Bardia Batala and Arash Valipour, Homish


High Tech

1st – Saeed Manouchehri, Kevin Heupel, Sugandhi Akula and Parna Ghosh, BioSeal XE

2nd – Brock Wright, Martha Essandoh and Mohammad Ebqa'ai, Melanin Technologies

3rd – Soumya Patra, Nathan Neilitz, Daiko Mahmodi and Bhavana Erukulia, Apeiron Solutions


Social Enterprise

 1st – Courtney Brown, Agsposure

 2nd – Tonmoy Paul, Diasma Beverage


Rising Entrepreneur

1st – William Colton and Jacob Miller, Paldara, Inc.

2nd – Rachel Brown, Strides

3rd – Muwanika Jdiobe, Jdiobe Food Industries

First-place winners received $6,000 followed by $4,000 for second place and $2,000 for third. Semifinalists were awarded $1,000 each.

Daniel Caughlin and his venture TakeMe Automotive was the winner of the $3,000 Richard L. Tourtellotte Family Scholarship awarded to encourage business creation in Oklahoma and academic study of how governments and the private sector can work together to grow local economies and create jobs.

“As our programs and our outreach across campus continue to improve, we look forward to the challenge of an even larger competition next year,” Tower said.

To learn more about the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at the Spears School of Business visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Joiner | Communications Coordinator | 405.744.2700 |

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