The second annual Fowler Business Concept Challenge was held Oct. 22 on the Minneapolis campus with teams representing undergraduate and graduate divisions from across the University of St. Thomas. More than 66 business concepts were entered by teams composed of one to three people. Four teams in each of the graduate and undergraduate divisions took home scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per person.

Focused on energizing the entrepreneurial spirit of UST students across campuses and colleges, the Fowler Business Concept Challenge asks students to develop a business concept that has the potential to become a viable high-growth business. The teams that submit the winning business competition in each of two divisions (undergraduate and graduate) receive University of St. Thomas scholarships.

Concepts were judged on their originality, clear and compelling value proposition, competitive advantage, market opportunity and feasibility by a panel of judges drawn from the business community and St. Thomas faculty, including Ron Fowler ’66; Ben Anderson, founder and CEO of Cinemation; Jan Hildebrandt of 3M; Susan Johnson, founder and CEO of Magellan Medical Technology; and other leading entrepreneurs. The award scholarships were made possible by generous contributions from 3M and Fowler, chairman and CEO of Liquid Investments Inc.

The Fowler Business Concept Challenge was open to all St. Thomas students registered for the fall 2010 semester, including undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.

This year’s winners:

  • Susan Wuollet and Michael Wuollet – first place, Graduate Division ($10,000 scholarship each), for their concept, the Styptic Fibrin Bandage, a quick way to stop bleeding from minor cuts and scrapes
  • Matthew Scott and Sarah Tinsman – first place, Undergraduate Division ($10,000 scholarship each), for their concept, Student Frenzy, which allows neighbors to pay what they like to students for services such as painting, shoveling and dog walking
  • Cyrus Zaeske and Kelsey Nelson – second place, Graduate Division ($5,000 scholarship each), for their concept, TripRoamer, a one-stop shop matching travelers to the destinations that best suit their preferences
  • Michael Weiss – second place, Undergraduate Division ($5,000 scholarship), for his concept, Aakari, a contemporary Indian bistro
  • Scott Clute – third place, Graduate Division ($2,500 scholarship), for his concept, the Curvy Bride, which provides customer service to the plus-size bridal market in the Twin Cities metro area
  • Lukasz Wlosiak and Paul Armstrong – third place, Undergraduate Division ($2,500 scholarship each), for their concept, Global Doc, which allows American universities to verify foreign documents and better understand their contents
  • Ryan Edstrom – fourth place, Graduate Division ($1,000 scholarship), for his concept, Insti-Park, a marketplace uniting event-goers and parking vendors
  • Solome Tibebu – fourth place, Undergraduate Division ($1,000 scholarship), for her concept, Tools for Schools, which provides K-12 schools and students access to tools and information to combat anxiety disorders via the Internet Also winning $1,000 scholarships each were Clute, for best presenter in the graduate division, and Weiss, for best presenter in the undergraduate division.

For more information, visit www.stthomas.edu/business/schulzeschool/fowlerchallenge.

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