Business-plan competition nets students cash prizes

Ed Swaray

Winners of the Carlson School of Management annual business plan competition received approximately $25,000 in cash prizes Wednesday.

Previously called Gopher the Gold Business Plan Competition, the New Venture Challenge pits student and alumni business plans against one another.

Twenty-three teams submitted entries in four categories in this year’s competition, said Elaine Nissen, a Carlson School administrative aide.

She said the entries were narrowed down to 12 finalists who presented their plans before four panels of local judges that included venture capitalists, bankers and entrepreneurs.

The panels selected winners based on their expected return to investors and the financing company, growth opportunity, social impact and quality of the plan, Nissen said.

University management junior Kavi Turnbull, who tied for first place in the undergraduate category for best startup company needing less than $1 million, said his plan would make clothing from environmentally responsible materials.

He said the target audience for his clothes will be between the ages of 20 to 30. He said the clothing designs will be stylish.

Turnbull, who received a $2,500 cash prize, said he would invest the money in starting his clothing line.

Bruce Rader, a University graduate student, won $5,000 in the category for graduate or alumni startup with less than $1 million.

Chad Brink, one of Rader’s team members and president of Heatwave Mobile Advertising, said the group’s plan would provide effective advertising by placing ads on the sides of delivery trucks. Brink said the group will use the money for their business.

Nissen said she hopes next year’s competition will draw even more students.

“This competition is only being hosted by Carlson, but it is a University program,” she said. “We want entrants from all colleges and departments.”

At least one member of a contestant team must be a student or alumni.