by Paul Nucci, Published March 06, 2014
YPSILANTI – A business plan for an online auction site where customers bid for unused storage unit spaces took home first prize recently in an annual competition at Eastern Michigan University that rewards entrepreneurial creativity.
Adam Kauer, a senior finance major from Goodrich, placed first at the annual EMU Skandalaris Business Plan Competition with his vision for “StorageBid.com.” Kauer won $1,000, and plans to use the award as seed money for the business.
The competition, which is in its seventh year, culminates at the annual Sesi Entrepreneurial Conference at the EMU Student Center. University students compete alongside high school students for thousands in prize money.
Kauer says he learned a great deal participating in the competition and attending the conference. “It was an amazing experience,” said Kauer of the competition. “It was an incredible day for EMU, and for how it is spreading entrepreneurship.”
Angela Elkordy, an EMU student from Ann Arbor, placed second for her plan, “Badgebox Learning” and Eastern's Natalie Morris, of Galesburg, IL; took home third place for “Child Behavioral Solutions.” Elkordy’s “Badgebox Learning” is an innovative learning tool for K-12, higher education and professional learning contexts that assists in meeting instructional goals through creative learning experiences.
Morris’s “Child Behavioral Solutions” is a business that aims to provide families with a series of products to help them effectively parent their children under a wide variety of developmental and behavioral conditions.
Elkordy and Morris took home $750 and $500 respectively, and Morris also won $200 for having the best presentation among college students. Elkordy and Morris also plan to use their award money to fund the start of their businesses.
Plans from Troy, Hartland, Ypsilanti Community, Saline, Ann Arbor Huron and Ann Arbor Skyline high schools were received, along with the EMU entrants. Plans are judged by EMU faculty and business counselors from the Michigan Small Business Development Center, which is located in the EMU College of Business.
In the high school category, Kunal Garg from Troy placed first for “Your Foods.” A true entrepreneur, Karg placed first in the competition in 2013 and has helped form an entrepreneurship club at Troy High School.
“Your Foods” is a mobile application that stores recipes for several meal options based on ingredients readily available at home, and also selects favorite meals and adds new recipes. Karg earned $1000 for placing first, and also won $200 for having the best presentation among high school entrants.
Second Place went to Chelsea Young from Huron for “VirtuTour” and Third Place went to Vaidehi Ambardekar from Troy for “Quick Order.” Young and Ambardekar won $750 and $500 respectively.
The Sesi Conference was held February 14 and featured entrepreneurs that have successfully turned their dreams into reality through a business or non-profit venture. More than 250 aspiring entrepreneurs (including students and faculty) attended the conference. Students from the EMU Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) Club organize the conference each year.
Steve Futrell, a leading entrepreneur in both technology and telecommunications and CEO of Technology Solutions, which advises businesses on issues involving voice, data, network security and IT, was the luncheon keynote speaker. “I hope the students enjoyed my presentation, as I certainly enjoy speaking to them in this type of environment,” said Futrell, who graduated from EMU with a degree in business management.
Melanie Bergeron, CEO of the moving company, Two Men and a Truck, was the morning speaker. Break-out session speakers included Walter Blake Knoblock, founder of the content platform FelixExi.com; Kathy King, founder of the Michigan Dance Project; Amanda Edmonds, executive director for Growing Hope, an Ypsilanti-based non-profit organization; and Jessica French, owner of Sidetrack Bar and Grille in Depot Town in Ypsilanti.
The Center for Entrepreneurship at Eastern Michigan University, located within the College of Business, presents the annual conference and business plan competition. The Center strives to create, encourage and sustain the entrepreneurial spirit through its various activities throughout campus.
You can follow the center on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EMU.CFE