Six Student Companies Honored in Undergraduate Business Plan Competition

Six student startups won UT’s eighth annual Undergraduate Business Plan Competition and cash prizes last week.

The students competed through three rounds of judging for first, second and third place in two different categories—high-growth businesses and lifestyle businesses.

First-place winners won $5,000, second-place winners received $3,000, and third-place winners won $2,000. In total, $20,000 of donated prize money was awarded to the six winning teams through the competition, sponsored by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Thomas Truett, a senior in business management, and Anthony Meyer, a junior in electrical engineering, took first place in the high-growth category with Make Me Modern Inc., a web development company. Make Me Modern is developing Breeze, software that will enable customers to preview their existing website in a variety of provided modern designs and update the look of their website with a simple push of a button.

Second place went to the My Banner Plus team, composed of Cory Walker, a senior in computer engineering, Henry Thomas Carr, a senior in interdisciplinary programs, and Ben McKerley, a senior in industrial engineering. My Banner Plus is an intuitive scheduling program that builds off Banner, a scheduling system used by many major universities. My Banner Plus uses course names or numbers to provide users with a list of all possible scheduling options. To date, My Banner Plus has been used by students at eight different universities, logged 44,860 hits from 10,771 unique visitors, and generated 25,484 schedules.

Third place went to Brennan Galbraith, a freshman in marketing, who is developing Earworm. Earworm is an auditory educational tool that allows users to input up to 200 words of text, which is then put to a backbeat, instantly transforming it into a song that’s easy to memorize.

In the lifestyle category, first place went to Brandi King, a senior in human resources management, and her company Rentique. Rentique is a Knoxville-based fashion truck renting high-quality dresses for special occasions. It is scheduled to launch in August.

Lucas Broderick, a junior in business administration and founder of ViaTech, finished in second place. ViaTech is a company building custom gaming computers and providing users with a simplified buying process.

Finishing third was Annalee Mueck, a senior in finance, and The Back Patio, a company catering to couples of all ages by offering a venue for a lineup of unique and ever-changing events, classes, and activities that keep date night fresh and exciting.

The Undergraduate Business Plan Competition is held every spring. It is open to UT undergraduate students from any field of study. It is judged by an outside panel of members from the business community. This year’s judges included Gus Zacharias, CEO of Tennessee Marble; Bill Jenkins, a retired corporate executive and consultant; Kevin Kragenbrink, founding partner of Estrada Strategies; Eric Dunn, founder of Catalyst Coaching, a business consultant and serial entrepreneur; Will McDermott of The McDermott Group LLC; and Damon Rawls, founder of Damon Rawls Coaching LLC.

CONTACT:

Kimberly Hood (865-974-5126, kimberlyhood@utk.edu)