Business Plan Competition Winner Announced

Photo provided by Scott Denham: Scott Denham plans to use the funds from the Stahl Center’s Business competition to help with his audio business.

China McDonald, Contributor

Senior Business Administration major Scott Denham won the Stahl Center’s Business Plan competition for the Spring 2014. Denham plans to use the funds toward his company D2 Audio, which works with vehicles in many ways, ranging from installing custom audio systems to creating custom vehicle wrap designs.

The Stahl Center hosts two Business Plan Competitions each academic year, in the fall and spring terms. The competitions are open to all students, graduate and undergraduate, within the university.  Students formulate an idea, develop a business plan and pitch their idea to a panel of judges.

Students who enter this competition can win $5,000, as well as present to a group of investors, find a mentor to assist with their business plan and earn college credit. For example, a student could try and manage a nail salon. They would figure out how to manage their business while students can go to the nail salon and get their nails painted. This can provide an experience in business planning and provide an activity that students can do on the weekend.

Denham said the competition was a humbling experience. “It was nice to see students from different fields, such as environmental sciences (Enactus) and computer science (Bragi Pictures),” Denham said. “The competition allowed all of us to get a feel for what a real business pitch to investors feel like.”

The student’s business can be on campus, which gives students a chance to visit the business without needing transportation.  Kristin Nance, director of Lowell Stahl Center for Entrepreneurship and Real Estate, said if students participate in this now they would get a head start after graduating.

“Students should take the opportunity of creating a business now, because if they fail, they are able to get back on their feet and try again,” Nance said. “Rather than going out in the real world and having to start all over from scratch along with other responsibilities.”

MBA Student Ryan O’Keefe won the fall semester business competition. The funds will be used toward O’Keefe’s proposed online business that produces customized zombie apocalypse survival guides and other related products.

Two students explained why the competition was a good idea.

Jessica Pina, freshman sociology major, said: “This is good because it takes a while to find something outside of the campus because we’re not surrounded by anything. A store and some food restaurants would be nice to have.”

Allison Wisniewski, an undeclared freshman, said: “I hope they would do this because there is nothing to do here on the weekends. Adding new things would make the campus fun and not be boring on the weekends.”

Students interested in creating a business can contact Nance at the Stahl Center, at 815-836-5092.

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