St. Thomas Students Bank $48,000 in Scholarships from Fowler Business Competition

Monday, November 18, 2013
Trustee Ron Fowler, left, and Opus College of Business Dean Christopher Puto, right, pictured with two award recipients. Photo by Mark Brown.

A group of University of St. Thomas students are taking home their piece of $48,000 in scholarships awarded Nov. 15 at the fifth annual Fowler Business Concept Challenge at the university’s Schulze School of Entrepreneurship.

Teams of one to three students submitted a record 107 business concepts as a part of this year’s competition. The top four teams in the undergraduate and graduate divisions were awarded St. Thomas scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per team. New this year was a social venture division, for students whose concepts aim to provide solutions for the betterment of society.

The Fowler Business Concept Challenge is named for 1966 St. Thomas graduate Ron Fowler, chairman and CEO of Liquid Investments Inc. Gifts to the university from Fowler, Alan and Marcia Bignall, and the Cade family have made the annual competitions possible.

“The University of St. Thomas has long been recognized as a leader in nurturing and enhancing the entrepreneurial spirit in our community,” says Christopher Puto, dean of the Opus College of Business. “Students throughout the university are encouraged to explore their potential, search out new opportunities and use the skills and knowledge they have acquired to make a difference in the world. This competition honors that philosophy while allowing the university to demonstrate the caliber of its students in a very public way.”

Students who participate in the challenge develop and submit a business concept that has the potential to become a viable, high-growth business. Entries are judged on their originality, clear and compelling value proposition, competitive advantage, market opportunity and feasibility.

Many past concepts have turned into real businesses. Students get advice from judges during the event, and some judges mentor them after the competition.

In the five years of the competition, 716 St. Thomas students have participated and scholarships totaling $230,000 have been awarded. The 157 students who participated on teams this year represent 23 St. Thomas academic programs. Winners came from nine different disciplines. This year’s winners are:

Undergraduate Division

Dennis Gisch & Jacob Rocheford – first place ($10,000 scholarship) for their iced-coffee concept Coffee Rocks!

Kara Gamelin & Katie Hasslinger – second place ($5,000 scholarship) for Simpliform Systems, a concept for streamlining college activity boards’ operations.

Kyle Andrews & Bobby Mason – third place ($2,500 scholarship) for OneU, a degree planner for students to easily create combinations of majors and minors from multiple universities.

Paige Norris & Courtney Wosick – fourth place ($1,000 scholarship) plus “best presenter award” ($1,000 scholarship) is a proprietary service that rebinds published music books, sheet music and musical scores by a method that allows them to stay open and lay flat.

Graduate Division

Jane Kramer, Nana Yaa A. Dodi, Marine F. Melin – first place ($10,000 scholarship) for Lou Lou Ingredients, a service to help serve allergy-friendly meals conveniently.

Ajay George – second place ($5,000 scholarship) and “best presenter award” ($1,000 scholarship) for Qronikle, a mobile app to track the health of your vehicle.

Donara Rudman – third place ($2,500 scholarship) for Survivorship Training & Counseling Center, an idea for a counseling center and boxing gym to provide PTSD treatment for survivors of sexual abuse and violence.

Jon Ochs – fourth place ($1,000 scholarship) for Barnabas Wall, a web-based, individualized church-run portal that helps church communities to bring together those that want to help and those in need.

Social Venture Division

Benjamin Carlson – first place ($5,000 scholarship) for Fetch by Getitlocal, a web platform for small businesses to display products and services to a local audience.

Mason Perry, Ethan Imdieke, Blake Reid – second place for Blue Water Pumps, an idea to lease specialized pumps at boat launches to clean watercraft from Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels.

Lindsey Landgraf, Jen Strong – third place ($1,000 scholarship) for ReWrite Boutique, a concept to give new clothes to single mothers below the poverty line, with the help of stylists.

Nicolas Styles – fourth place ($500 scholarship) for Gamefication, a concept that allows parents to create individualized, interactive stories for use on tablets and smart phones.

About the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business

The University of St. Thomas (UST) is the largest private university in Minnesota, fostering a tradition of service to the public and an energetic, thoughtful approach to the challenges of contemporary life. Serving more than 10,500 undergraduate and graduate students, St. Thomas is a campus connected to community to meet the challenges of today.

With the vision of excelling in educating highly principled global business leaders, the Opus College of Business at St. Thomas serves more than 5,000 students in both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. In addition, its executive education programs and its centers and institutes serve more than 18,000 participants annually. The Opus College of Business is the only private business school in Minnesota accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) and is ranked in the top 25 percent of accredited business schools nationwide.

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University of St. Thomas Press Release, 11/18/2013