WSU Celebrates Student Venture Winners, Record Numbers at 15th Annual Business Plan Competition

Semplice Wins 1st Place!

Competitions like this are absolutely critical to students being able to explore their passions and creativity.

Over the weekend, Washington State University’s top 24 student venture teams displayed their innovative products and services at the 15th Annual Business Plan Competition hosted by the Carson College of Business. In a separate competition on Friday, five of the region’s best high school venture teams also competed.

The top five college teams were awarded prize money, with Semplice winning first place and $15,000. Semplice creates an environmentally sustainable sports drink from the dairy bi-product of the Greek yogurt industry. The top four high school teams received prize money as well, with Illusory Gear Box from Riverpoint Academy winning first place and $5,000. Illusory Gear Box creates custom, wooden toy kits that children can assemble and interact with in a variety of ways.

The teams’ creative ventures included audio devices that can provide e-commerce-level data collection and analytics for brick and mortar stores, solutions to improve muscle problems from repetitive use injuries in non-professional athletes and ideas to reduce the labor costs required by retailers to stock shelves. Teams also presented potentially world-changing ideas such as a new digital thermometer to help increase the amount of milk pasteurization done by migrant cow herders in the developing world.

“I’ve always believed that a strong economy comes from the universities in that region,” said Chris Wood, founder of Dryland SA and TenX Strategies. “WSU’s Business Plan Competition embodies my belief by encouraging, facilitating and accelerating the startup environment. The university is working so hard today to help students bring research, innovation and ideas to the market place.”

Student entrepreneurship gains momentum at WSU

“It was a record year for the WSU Business Plan Competition,” said Marie Mayes, director of the WSU Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “We had 39 college venture teams and 27 high school teams enter the competition this year. I attribute this to our successful efforts at WSU to raise the profile of entrepreneurship. We want to be a university where every student with an interest in starting a venture, or being a part of something entrepreneurial, has an opportunity to pursue that during their time at WSU. I think the high level of entries reflect our positive momentum in that direction.”

Three teams from WSU’s international partner institutions joined WSU competitors: Cèsar Ritz Colleges Switzerland in Brig, Switzerland; Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology in Arusha, Tanzania; and Southwestern University of…

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