Students behind new services in the health care industry took the top prizes in the annual University of Miami Business Plan Competition, sponsored by the University's School of Business Administration. The winners were announced today, just hours after the undergraduate and graduate students competed in the final round of the competition, which is now in its eighth year.
Brett Warner and Nikolay Nedyalkov, both management majors and Taylor Holcomb, a finance major, won the Grand Prize and $10,000 in the undergraduate student category for their business plan for ACAdvantage, a start-up in the health care industry offering three levels of in-home specialized and customized services to assist in the care of autistic children.
Brandon Faza and Joel Salinas, both MD/MBA students, won the Grand Prize and $10,000 for their venture QuickWRx, a healthcare information technology development firm that is launching an iPhone application called NoteWRx. The mobile electronic medical record technology is designed to empower physicians and medical students to provide better patient care.
Second Place in the undergraduate category and $5,000 went to Laura San Fillipo and Scott Feldman, both management majors, Austin Zaslow, a business major, and Garrett Lorenz for SoSmoothie.com, a distributor of premeasured fruits and natural supplements they say consumers will use to create naturally sweet, low calorie smoothies that are rich in nutrients and fibers.
Second place in the graduate category and $5,000 went to MBA students HsingYi Chung and Joe Russell for AutoSupport.com, a database driven subscription Web site designed to integrate aftermarket auto parts information.
Third Place in the undergraduate category and $2,500 was awarded to Sean Skelton, an entrepreneurship major, in the undergraduate category for SoundMind, a service firm that aims to innovate the field of integrative health using a medical application for audio visual therapy. Third place in the graduate category and $2,500 went School of Law students Ian Koslow, Justin Wales and Sean Altshuler, along with Craig Runyon, David Damnjanovic, Ron Muram, and Tyler Wolf for Time-Peace, a new age watch, clock, and apparel company that aspires to change people's perception of time and encourage them to live in the moment.
"Over the past two days, we have heard some remarkable ideas and some truly well thought out plans for turning these ideas into successful business ventures," said Ken Colwell, director of entrepreneurship programs at the University of Miami School of Business Administration. "I have no doubt that we will be hearing much more about these companies and the students behind them as they work to take them to the next level of development."
In addition to the top three undergraduate and graduate prizes, the Paul K. Sugrue Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and $2,000 was presented Spencer Lewin, an MBA student. The prize is presented annually to the student who demonstrated the highest spirit of entrepreneurship. There were also seven other awards given to winners in each of the following categories:
-- Fourth Place, Undergraduate: Nicole Doucet, an economics major, and
Jess Page, an arts and sciences major, for 3r Water.
-- Fourth Place, Graduate: Matt Montag, a School of Music student, for
-- Best Written Plan, Undergraduate: Brian Beers and Bryan Holmes, both
entrepreneurship majors, for Bits & Watts
-- Best Written Plan, Graduate: MBA student Martin Tiongson, for Good
-- Best Elevator Pitch, Undergraduate: Eric Karbeling, an advertising
major, for Instant Igloo
-- Best Elevator Pitch, Graduate: MD/MBA students Brandon Faza and Joel
Salinas for QuickWRX
The Business Plan Competition started last fall, when 70 proposals were submitted to the judging committee. Of those, 24 teams were selected to submit full business plans and to present their ideas in the semifinal round April 8. The following day, four undergraduate and three graduate teams competed in the final round, where the winners in each category were determined. The judges included nearly two dozen successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from across the country.
Established in 2003, the Business Plan Competition is open to all University of Miami students. Past winners in the competition have gone on to build their ventures into businesses that have gotten national attention.
They include such companies as College Hunks Hauling Junk (www.1800junkusa.com) and My Therapy Journal.com (http://www.mytherapyjournal.com/), both of which have been featured on ABC television's "Shark Tank," a reality program in which entrepreneurs share their business ideas with a group of five self-made millionaires in hopes of getting venture capital to help them attain similar levels of success. More information about the competition and past winners can be found at www.bus.miami.edu/events/entrep-competition1/index.html.
About the School of Business Administration
The University of Miami School of Business Administration is a comprehensive business school, offering undergraduate business, full-time MBA, Executive MBA, MS, PhD and non-degree executive education programs. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Miami, the School is located in a major hub of international trade and commerce and acclaimed for the global orientation and diversity of its faculty, students and curriculum.
The School delivers its programs at its main campus in Coral Gables as well as at locations across Florida and abroad. More information about the University of Miami School of Business can be found at www.bus.miami.edu.