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Businesses Started by Past Winners

Fowler Business Concept Challenge winners who’ve gone on to start businesses based on their winning business concepts include:

Graduate Division

Fowler Business Challenge winners and founders of Jeremiah Messerer, right, and Derek Buschow are photographed in Buschow's home office for various Opus College of Business publications on Tuesday, June 7, 2011.

Protégé Biomedical

Mike and Susie Wuollett

2010 graduate division winners and co-founders of Protégé Biomedical, husband-and-wife team Mike and Susie Wuollett (both '10 M.B.A.) developed ClotIt™ Blood Coagulant Products to rapidly stop bleeding in minor cuts and other wounds. Protégé Biomedical has received funding from the Norris Institute and has started clinical trials. Read more about the Wuolletts in the Opus Magnum blog.


Derek Buschow and Jeremiah Messerer (pictured above)

Derek Buschow and Jeremiah Messerer have made great progress with since winning the Graduate Division in the 1st Annual Fowler Challenge. Hyier is an online application that uses on-demand video to help companies hire better job-candidates. Companies use Hyier to determine if candidates are qualified and the right fit for the job.
Buschow says, “The Fowler competition was an amazing opportunity for us! Because of this event, we were able to start articulating what our product was and get feedback from industry experts. This helped us feel that we needed to pursue Hyier and opened many doors to help us get started!”

Undergraduate Division

Student Frenzy, Midwest Tomato Fest

Kamal Mohamed

Mohamed won the 2011 Fowler Business Concept Challenge for The Midwest Tomato Fest. This event is the largest tomato fight festival in the United States. The first tomato fight took place in July 2011 and in its second year (July 2012), attendance increased by 42%.


Solome Tibebu

Cognific empowers patients by offering structured health homework in an accessible, enjoyable way that fits the 21st century. Cognific helps providers improve mental health outcomes in patients, manage costs and increase clinical throughput.

Tibebu recently won the Minnesota Cup Student Division. Her company, Cognific, was awarded $10k in seed capital. Read more. Cognific has also received funding from the Norris Institute.


Jeff Sevaldson and Joseph Nesbitt

"The Fowler has been an overall awesome experience for us.  Even if you don’t place in the contest, the amount of feedback we have gotten from judges has proven to be invaluable - especially in the early stages of launching a business. We ended up doing Fowler a couple years in a row and while we only placed once (2009), we learned a ton each time! I'd recommend the contest for anybody who even has the slightest thought of starting a product or a business."

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