MTSU entrepreneurship majors bossed up during the 2018 Business Plan Competition's Trade Show.
The public exhibition event, which was held recently in the Student Union Atrium, gave the public a chance to learn about all the creative business plans students showcased as they seek to be among the top finishers to snag startup cash in the overall competition.
Sponsored by The Pam Wright Chair in Entrepreneurship in MTSU's Jones College of Business, the March 28 event gave students a chance to obtain feedback from Jones College faculty-judges on how to improve their business pitches when presenting it to potential investors.
Finalists will compete for the top three cash prizes during the final presentation event that will be held Wednesday, April 25, in the Student Union Ballroom. The first place winner will receive $5,000, the runner-up will receive $3,000 and third place will receive $1,000.
For his business plan, MTSU sophomore Brady Gouthro decided to literally shed light on the importance of maintaining a cleaner environment with his light-up portable trashcans accompanied by performers with LED hula-hoops.
He believes during festivals and other social events trash usually accumulates within the crowd rather than on the outskirts.
"Why not bring the garbage cans to them?" Gouthro thought. "People will start seeing the performers and the trashcans, then will think, 'oh, this is convenient.'"
The Keller, Texas, native says being able to pitch to judges allowed him to think about some economic factors he missed.
"It went pretty well ... they asked me about pricing and difficulty of getting into overcrowded places, so even that gave me progress through (refining) the idea of my plan," he said. "I was able to receive new ideas I haven't thought of and put all the pieces together."
Entrepreneurship major Cailen Roth, a native from Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, created a plan that inspired him to raise the bar at gymnasiums by ... putting actual bars with alcohol in them to promote more socializing.
"I believe one of the main problems a lot of people face when they go to the gym is that they go inside and they feel insecure when they see people who have made more progress than them," said Roth, an MTSU senior. "By adding a bar to a gym it's going to give people an excuse to go get to know someone."
The top five teams who advanced after completing the elevator pitch round received coaching sessions immediately after the Trade Show to prepare for the final round.
"The students are looking for notoriety for their business," said organizer Stacy Aaron with the Wright Chair. "They are also receiving feedback/creative ideas from faculty, students and the business community for refining their ideas into a business or taking their existing business to the next level."
The top five teams are listed below:
- Drunken Parrot -- MTSU finance major Hilary Huyler's idea is a bar bicycle company that will be located in Nassau, New Providence. It will provide customers age 18 and up a sightseeing tour of historic sites while consuming an alcoholic beverage.
- Drones iVue -- MTSU aerospace alumnus Jacob Andrews concept is a currently operational imagery company with a mission to capture the world in video, photo, mapping, and 3D modeling imagery using camera and drone technology.
- Salomon's Greenhouse -- MTSU biology major Brock Averitt's project is an urban farm startup focused on safe and sustainable production of low-calorie nutrient-dense foods. It focuses on commercial production of high quality vegetables and partners with local ranchers to provide grass-fed beef and lamb.
- Vendy -- MTSU entertainment major Evan Hemontolor's idea involves a new way to serve high quality gourmet meals without a five-star building. It is a franchise of gourmet vending machines that can serve multiple options (pizza, cupcakes, ice cream, salads, etc.) at a fast rate.
- University Ready -- MTSU economics alumnus Matthew Bullington is pitching an online guide to help students navigate how to prepare for college and life after high school through custom weekly classes.
The students are judged on their elevator pitch (40 percent), the trade show faculty judges evaluation (40 percent) and community votes for the trade show (20 percent).
The Business Plan Competition was started through The Pam Wright Chair in Entrepreneurship to foster the entrepreneurial spirit within the region. It is designed to help students and alumni in launching new business ventures, including for-profit businesses, not-for-profit businesses, corporate entrepreneurship, and social enterprise.