UT’s Business Plan Competition Launches New Businesses

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KNOXVILLE — Six teams of undergraduate students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have won tools to help launch their own businesses by participating in the third annual Business Plan Competition sponsored by the College of Business Administration’s Department of Management.

Forty-two teams competed for a total of $20,000 in prize money and $12,000 in donated services. The first-place winners received complimentary start-up of accounting services from Brenda Boyd, CPA, a 1990 alumnus, and a one-year complimentary membership in Estrada Strategies Entrepreneur’s Club, a coaching and networking organization for entrepreneurs.

“The Business Plan Competition was designed to develop and encourage an entrepreneurial culture on campus and to support aspiring young entrepreneurs in their quest to create value,” said Tom Graves, director of the college’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Business Plan Competition.

The contest was open to all undergraduate students and consisted of three rounds, each requiring more difficult quantitative and qualitative analysis. The judging panel included local entrepreneurs and business executives. Students competed in two categories: the technology-enabled business category and the lifestyle business category.

The winners in the technology-enabled category include:

  • First place ($5,000) — Nate Buchanan and Jordan Peace, juniors in management, and Austin Eldridge, a junior in aerospace engineering, for “Real Mobile,” a text-message-based business that provides instant information to home buyers.
  • Second place ($3,000) — Aron Beiereschmitt, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, for “Mobile Computing,” a company which is developing mobile gaming applications and open-source operating systems.
  • Third place ($2,000) — Jessica Allen, a junior in hospitality, and Ashley Baker, a junior in management, for “Perfect 10 Technology,” a device that makes equipment set up for gymnastic competitions and training easier and quicker.

Winners in the lifestyle category include:

  • First place ($5,000) — Jake Baron and Daniel Stone, juniors in accounting, for “Strappack,” a company which sells backpacks that mitigate back pain caused by carrying heavy loads.
  • Second place ($3,000) — Danny Smith, a senior in engineering, and Dave Teeters, an engineering alumnus, for “Boulder Booties,” a product that protects expensive rock-climbing shoes.
  • Third place ($2,000) — Kaliv Parker and Phillip Black, sophomores in the pre-business program, and Aeron Glover, a sophomore in engineering, for “Ratemyhostfamily.com, LLC” a website that uses an online survey platform to allow study abroad students to give quantitative and open-ended feedback about their host families, residence halls and apartments while studying abroad.

“The plans and the presentations in this year’s competition were the best I’ve seen in the three years that I’ve judged. The students continue to raise the bar and exceed expectations,” said Bill Jenkins, a retired corporate executive, consultant and judge.

For more information on the business plan competition, visit http://cei.utk.edu/business_plan.html.

Pictured: Back row, from left: Ashley Baker, Kevin Kragenbrink (judge), Aron Beirschmitt, Sarah Gardial (UT vice provost), Tom Graves (UT faculty), Danny Smith, Gus Zacharias (judge); Middle row, from left: Aeron Glover, Kaliv Parker, Phillip Black, Daniel Stone, Jake Baron; Seated, from left: Nate Buchanan, Austin Eldridge, Jordan Peace.

C O N T A C T :

Cindy Raines (865-974-4359, craines1@utk.edu)

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