Six enterprising people who wrote business plans and presented their “big ideas” to a panel of judges for new business ventures and Stage Two business growth earned cash prizes at the Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge competition Thursday.
$18,000 in prize money was distributed among the six winners.
In New Business Ventures, first place and $5,000 went to Liquid Media (community controlled marketing and real-time advertising), second place and $3,000 was awarded to Safe Rod (fly rod protection on drift boats) and third with $1,000 went to Prodagen (Nintendo Wii gaming tool that improves player proficiency). Safe Rod was developed by Monfort College of Business seniors Matt Ackerman and Thomas Shanor, who will use the prize money as seed money for their business.
In Second Phase Growth, first place and $5,000 was awarded to Red Rocket Web Specialists (marketing agency), and there was a three-way tie for second place, with each receiving $1,333.33. Those winners were Sardis Enterprises (pineapple import and retail), Expressville (communication learning company) and I Am Smart Technology (device that turns off electrical appliances by sound).
“We’re very happy with the results of this inaugural Entrepreneurial Challenge,” said David Thomas, assistant professor of management at the College. “We received a wide range of business ideas and had 20 finalists presenting their business plans at this all-day event.” The event took place at the University Center Ballroom on the campus of the University of Northern Colorado on Thursday, March 25.
In addition to the competition, four workshops were presented in areas relating to new and future business growth, including human resources, financing, marketing and law. A panel of regional experts discussed strategies for financing new and expanding businesses during lunch, which was part of the Business Plus Speaker Series. Presenters included Lewis Hagler, director of Lending for Colorado Enterprise Fund, Mike O’Donnell, executive director for Colorado Lending Source and Tim Kenney, vice president and manager of Diversified Retail Services of First National Bank.
“Our goal was to provide valuable information on a wide variety of topics that could be beneficial to new and existing business growth in Northern Colorado,” Thomas concluded.
“I feel certain we will hear more from these talented and dedicated entrepreneurs, and wish them well as they begin new businesses and try to take existing businesses to the next level.”