Two winners went home with $10,000 prizes at the second annual Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge yesterday, and $16,000 more was awarded to second and third place winners, announced David Thomas, assistant professor of management for the college.
The winner in the Start Up Ventures category was Steven Roy, the developer of VetDC, a company that takes innovative healthcare treatments and technologies designed for humans and reverse-engineers them for use on companion animals with serious veterinary medical conditions.
“We are developing new cancer treatments for dogs and cats. We had been trying to build a business for about a year, but hadn’t put together a business plan yet,” said Roy. “This competition forced me to sit down and actually get it done.” He continued, “By first presenting our idea at the preliminary event in January, getting great feedback from the panel of entrepreneurial experts, and then fine-tuning our business plan for the event finals was a great and helpful process. Everyone involved with the event was trying to make each of us better at what we were doing. It was great.”
The winner in the Stage Two Growth category was Jacob Castillo, co-founder of Panda Bicycles, a Fort Collins manufacturer of bamboo bicycles designed for cycling enthusiasts, weekend warriors, everyday cyclists and urban commuters.
“We are ramping up our sales and production right now, and wanted to see how our business plan and process stood up against some of Northern Colorado’s finest entrepreneurs,” said Castillo. “The feedback we received from the judges was outstanding.
It was wonderful to be a part of something that was so high quality and helpful.”
The second place winner in the Start Up Ventures category was Mike Lindsey, creator of Bedbug Boxes, a device that helps eliminate bedbug problems at home and on the road. The third place winner in Start Up Ventures was Adam Wickam, inventor of a rifle-shaped aiming solution for the Nintendo Wii.
The second place winner in the Stage Two Growth category was Robert Flynne, co-owner of Greenride Colorado, which provides low cost, environmentally friendly airport shuttle services. The third place winner was Becky Lindsey, owner of Becky Lindsey and Associates in Fort Collins, which provides senior counseling and care management.
Second place winners in the competition each took home $5,000, while third place winners received $3,000 each.
The all-day event took place at the University of Northern Colorado’s University Center. It featured business presentations by five finalists in the two categories, three workshops providing information about online marketing, sourcing capital and legal issues for entrepreneurs and a keynote address by Gary Hoover, a renowned entrepreneur who changed the nature of book shopping with his book superstore BOOKSTOP. Hoovers.com, the world's largest Internet-based provider of information about companies and people in business is another one of his successful ventures.
During Hoover’s luncheon presentation, he emphasized the importance of curiosity, market research and analysis and passion as keys to entrepreneurial success. He also completed his 171st notebook filled with ideas at the event, and shared the fact that he has more than 100 ideas for other entrepreneurial ventures.
“The judges were very impressed with the caliber of the business plans presented,” said Thomas. “We have more than double the number of entries in the competition this year, and look forward to making next year’s competition bigger and even better.”