UW-Whitewater: Warhawks compete for cash prizes in business plan contest

Contact: Anita Clark



Five budding entrepreneurs with big ideas will compete for cash prizes in this week’s final round of the Warhawk Business Plan Competition at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Students, faculty and staff members and community members are invited to attend the fourth annual competition at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, in the James R. Connor University Center, room 275.

With the field narrowed from the original 79 contestants, the finalists will present their plans to a panel of entrepreneurs. Cash prizes totaling $10,000 will be awarded, with $5,000 going to the first-place winner.

The competition is sponsored by the UW-Whitewater chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

“The top five presenters will pitch their final presentations to actual bankers, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to mimic the real world and give students a better learning experience at what it really takes to start and run a business,” said Anthony Gierczak, chief competition officer for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

Finalists will be judged on the viability of their enterprise and its originality, market potential, social impact, completeness, mechanics and attractiveness for investors or donors.

In addition to winning cash prizes, the top two competitors from UW-Whitewater will compete May 26 in the BizStarts Milwaukee Collegiate Business Plan Competition against teams from nine other area schools.

This year’s UW-Whitewater finalists and their business ideas are:

* Trevor Santarius, a junior majoring in entrepreneurship; Arius Backpacks, which offer a basic backpack frame with specially designed add-ons to meet a user’s personality, preference or need.

* Henry Schwartz, a junior majoring in entrepreneurship; Solar Sound, a system that places thin solar cells atop headphones that can charge batteries and power a music player while the user is engaged in outdoor activity.

* Sara Amiri, a junior finance major; Student Tutor, a network offering timely help to college students with homework assignments or projects by using paid tutors.

* Tyler Sailsbery, a senior business major; NoMoreDorms.com, a website with paid landlord listings to help UW-Whitewater students find off-campus housing that meets their criteria.

* Jordan Leahy, a junior liberal studies major; Clest Kiwi LLC, a driver awareness program designed to help young drivers by allowing other motorists to call a number from a bumper sticker to report unsafe driving to a parent.

A popular part of the business plan contest is the people’s choice award. Contestants will present their ideas at display tables during the evening, and people in attendance will be given Warhawk cash to “invest.” At the end of the contest, presenters will redeem their play money for genuine cash and the top idea will be declared the people’s choice winner.