The University of Northern Colorado’s Monfort College of Business has selected five finalists in its Fourth Annual Entrepreneurial Challenge announced David Thomas, assistant professor of management for the college. They will be competing for $50,000 in prize money, with first place earning $25,000, second place earning $15,000 and third place earning $10,000.
“Thirty entrepreneurs submitted business concepts in this year’s competition, with 18 semifinalists competing in the semifinals on January 18,” said Thomas. “The business concepts were diverse, well presented and very impressive. The competition is truly serving as a real business initiative in Northern Colorado.”
Finalists in random order include:
• Urban Farm Company, providing a “fool proof” gardening experience by installing high-yield organic vegetable gardens for homeowners and businesses
• Grouse Malting and Roasting Company, a malting company focusing on organic, gluten-free grains for brewing and baking
• 5280 Prosthetics will improve the lives of amputees through a new generation of products that enable prosthetic devices to communicate with their users, relaying critical data to improve fit, function and the general health of the amputee
• Membrane Protective Technologies, a proprietary technology that protects dairy cattle sperm used in artificial insemination from the ravages of freezing and thawing
• WildFit Gyms, an outdoor fitness equipment concept featuring website and mobile app integration
All finalists will present their business plans in a “Shark Tank” format during the Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge on Thursday, March 7 from noon- 5:00 p.m. The event takes place at the University Center on the campus of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. It is free and open to the public, with opportunities to hear the presentations, meet the finalists and network with other entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Those judging the event include First National Bank President Mark Driscoll, WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone Senior Vice President of Business Services Brad Cheedle and Foundry Group Managing Director Brad Feld.
Winners will be announced that night at the Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards at the Union Colony Civic Center, a Northern Colorado Business Report event that the Monfort College of Business is sponsoring. Tickets to that event are $45 and can be purchased at www.ncbr.com. 9News Business Reporter Gregg Moss will serve as emcee for the Entrepreneurial Challenge and Bravo! award ceremony.
Last year’s winner was Bedside Solutions, LLC, a provider of a disposable medical device that inexpensively and effectively delivers low flow oxygen therapy to patients. Bedside Solutions LLC Co-founder Jamie Alexander said, “We used the award money to focus on marketing for our product, and secured a booth at the Critical Care Nurses Association Meeting and Trade Show in Orlando last May. This provided us with a lot of leads, feedback and great contacts, resulting in inquiries from as far away as Iceland and Japan.” She continued, “Going through the competition also forced us to refine our plan and really focus on what was important. It was a great experience.”
This year, three high school students who are part of the Young Entrepreneur Tournament at the Larimer County Workforce Center will also compete for $1,500 in cash prizes, with $750 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place.
Fourteen-year-old McKenna Christian, 15-year-old Garrett Johnston and 16-year-old Caleb Sexton attended a 15-hour course presented by Larimer County Workforce Center that taught them how to take an idea and create a business plan.
The three students then entered and were recognized as the top three finalists from the Young Entrepreneur Tournament and will present their ideas to MCB student judges, as well as receive feedback about their business plans.
Mark Johnston, Youth Program Manager at Larimer County Workforce Center said, “Entrepreneurship is the backbone of economic vitality and it’s our goal to help youth become business leaders. The Monfort College of Business also believes in promoting entrepreneurship among youth and is the principal sponsor of the 2013 Larimer County Workforce Young Entrepreneur Tournament.”
First National Bank is the Venture Capitalist Sponsor of the competition, with Better Business Bureau as an Angel Investor and OtterBox as an Associate Sponsor.
“Anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit should come to this event. They’ll be able to observe entrepreneurs as they present their business plans and take advantage of networking opportunities,” Thomas added.
For more information about the competition visit www.mcb-echallenge.com.