The Oklahoma State University School for Entrepreneurship and the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship have named winners of the annual student competition to create business startups. The Riata Business Plan Competition at the Spears School of Business, which is open to any OSU student, promotes entrepreneurship and small business development by focusing on student created, managed and owned ventures.
This year’s competition attracted 26 individual or team-developed business plans competing for $45,000 in prize money for winners named in three business tracks: Main Street Lifestyle (products or services), Big City High Tech (businesses with an intellectual property or a technology component) and Social Enterprise (solutions to social, cultural or environmental issues), as well as the People’s Choice Award winner. Student entrepreneurs where required to produce a 10-page written business plan and a traditional slideshow presented to a panel of judges.
“The business plan competition is a unique opportunity where OSU students present their entrepreneurial aspirations to a group of highly experienced business owners and industry experts for valuable feedback,” said Marc Tower, executive director of the Riata Center. “Winners from the competition are awarded cash prizes, which provide financial support for making their dreams a reality.”
Winners and venture name:
Main Street Lifestyle
1st– Afshin Aghayan, Groundwater Explorer
2nd– Pete Craver, Daniel Woodruff and Austin Patton, Infinite Prints, LLC
3rd– Marissa Commey and Imani McGill, I Am
Big City High Tech
1st– Brooks Robison and Rabecca Wiseman, Contraire
2nd– Hossein Khaleghian, One-Voice
3rd– Steve Trost, xybaGold
1st– Rachel Brown, Strides
2nd– Queena Smith, I(k)new
3rd– ShawnDea Dunzy, Eco-Consulting
First-place winners received $6,000 followed by $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third. Semifinalists were awarded $1,000 each.
Avonlea Baird, founder of the business Heavenly Avenue, was the winner of the $2,000 People’s Choice Award and the $3,000 Richard L. Tourtellotte Family Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to encourage business creation in Oklahoma and academic study of how governments and the private sector can work together to grow local economies and create jobs.
“Participating in the Riata Center Business Plan Competition forced me to critique my business from every angle,” said competitor and winner Rachel Brown. “By putting my business through the fire, it has come out the other side much stronger and more viable than it was before.”