Despite the heavy rain we ended up having an extremely successful Business Plan Competition Finals! Thank you to all those that attended: the teams, CSUF students, the finalists, the families of the finalists, our prestigious panel and our sponsors. Without all of you this event could not have happened.
After all of the introductions, a raffle, some talk about the sponsors, another raffle, some information on how the presentations were going to proceed, yet another raffle, and an introduction of the panelists the presentations got under way. First up was SP ZAP, LLC, which is a technology concern. Basically, it helps businesses manage their forms more efficiently. In exchange for a yearly subscription companies will get to use their program which helps migrate information from PDFs to Sharepoint.
Then came Atral Infiniti, LLC, which is a company that has the patent for this extremely fascinating solar UAV. Their presenter said that the uses of his UAV were for surveillance, transmitting information, tracking the weather and that there were literally dozens, if not hundreds, of other applications on top of all of that. By the way, did I mention that this solar UAV could stay up in the air for months, if not years?
The final team to present was Tank Skinz. They actually have a really simple idea: create “skinz” for water heaters. Their reasoning is that water heaters are nothing more than this gigantic eyesore that mars what otherwise could have been a nice looking garage. But don’t think it’s just for guys with man caves (although they will be targeting this group with beer and sports themed skinz). Evidently, women would love to have something to cover up their water heaters too.
And then the presentations were done and, yeah, you guessed it, there were a couple more raffles while I added up the scores. While I was carrying the three a person won an Xbox360 with a couple of games and six months of Xbox Live for free. There were some other prizes but I was too caught up in my math problems to notice.
Finally, I finish and hand the scores over to John Bradley Jackson, our presenter and the Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship. In third place was SP Zap, LLC. Don’t feel bad for them because not only did they beat out dozens of competitors to make it this far they won $1,000 in cash and another $2,500 in in-kind services to help start their business.
After the applause subsided the winner was announced: Tank Skinz. As the first place winners they take home $3,000 in cash as a team and another $5,000 worth of in-kind services. Astral Infiniti, LLC took home the silver, along with $2,000 in cash and another $3,750 of in-kind services.
But before you knew it the final raffle happened. One of the members of one of our Top 7 teams, which win $500 in cash and $300 of in-kind services, won an iPad. Only after the iPad had been safely stowed away in the winner’s bag did the event start to wind down.
It was an amazing event and went fairly smooth considering the fact that this was the first time that we hosted an event of this kind. Mistakes were made, sure, but I think it was a great learning experience for everyone involved and I’m hopeful that at least a few of these teams will make a real go at starting their own businesses.
And for all the rest of you: if you are going to be attending CSUF next year start working on your business plans now because the 2nd Annual Business Plan Competition will be here quicker than you’d imagine.