More than 30 students recently participated in the 11th annual Arkansas State University Innovate Business Idea Competition, and the winners have been revealed.
During the competition, students could present a business plan or deliver an innovative elevator pitch. The winning students will have the opportunity to compete in the 2020 Governor’s Cup.
“We’re so excited by the number of students interested in entrepreneurship and the breadth of their ideas and interests,” Dr. Hilary Schloemer, assistant professor of management, said. “We have such a strong tradition of entrepreneurship and small business ownership in Northeast Arkansas, and our students are working hard to carry that forward.”
In the business plan track, two teams tied for first place. Bret Fuller, of Piggott, developed an automotive diagnostic reader, called “Engine Alert,” that is connected to a mobile app and can provide alerts when a vehicle is not working properly. The other first place winner was a project called “Triple S: Snappy Sun Shade,” developed by Ty Cornelius of Mount Pleasant, Madison Melton of Jonesboro and Jonathan Martin of Viola. The “Triple S” is a windshield sunshade that is capable of automatically deploying.
The first place winner in the elevator pitch track was Conner White of Roland. White pitched an idea for a climbing gym, which he calls “RedPoint Climbing & Fitness,” that provides evolving climbing options to avoid gym monotony.
Gunner Faulkner of Paragould received second place in the elevator pitch competition, as well as the award for most innovative pitch. Faulkner’s pitch was for a camera arm that can allow bowhunters to capture images from their hunt without impacting their aim.
Third place in the elevator pitch competition went to Michele Gleason of Diamond Bar, Calif. for her pitch for a health-focused café called “Missy’s Café.”
AJN Productions, consisting of Andrew Doonan of Bryant, James (J. Mark Lewis) and Noah Burden, both of Jonesboro, received third place in the business plan competition for their concept of chemically-treated hammocks and blankets that repel mosquitos and ticks.
The business plan competition was founded in 2008 by Dr. Nareatha Studdard, a former management and marketing professor. It is now sponsored by the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation, a unit of Arkansas Capital Group.
The Arkansas Governor’s Cup will launch in January 2020, and the awards luncheon will be held April 9 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.