Business ideas

Meet the student entrepreneurs who present their business ideas to the Fowler Business Concept Challenge

The Fowler business concept challenge (FBCC) is where entrepreneurship students go to brainstorm new ideas at the University of San Diego. Over the past month, students of all majors practiced and honed their pitching skills for the chance to compete in the FBCC Grand Finals.

16 semi-finalist teams were selected to present an original business idea to a jury. Guest judges include prominent San Diego business leaders such as Caroline Perry, senior vice president of business administration and general counsel for the San Diego Padres; Dan Novak, retired vice president of global marketing at Qualcomm; and Kelly Capen Douglas, President and CEO of Voices for Children, to name a few.

After receiving feedback from the judges, the teams will present their ideas to a live audience at the FBCC Grand Final on November 5, 2021. Four finalist teams will be eligible to win the grand prize of the $ 15,000 scholarship. Students and members of the San Diego community in attendance will be able to vote for their favorite business idea to win a public award and scholarship.

Before you get to the Fowler Business Concept Challenge, meet some of the semi-finalist teams.

Ritual

Team: Alexandra Leonidova ’18 (BA), ’23 (MBA)

What business idea do you propose?

Ritual is a wellness app that helps anyone develop a personalized morning or night routine based on their specific goals. Ritual will act as your guide, taking you step by step through a sequence of practices, showing you what to do and how to do it. Ritual takes all the guesswork out of your routine, helps you tailor your routine to your day, tracks your progress as you complete your daily habits, and provides scientifically proven recommendations and advice.

What inspired the Ritual?

I have high demands on my mind and body. I am an MBA student, software developer, competitive ballroom dancer, and occasional biohacker. For many years, I never found the time to take care of myself and eventually had to pay for it with brain fog, injuries, burnout, and other unpleasant consequences. After working with many coaches, from physiotherapy to breathing work, I discovered the power of morning rituals. Through my rituals, I have become much more in tune with my mind and body, giving them proper attention and care. As a result, they reward me with high performance and happiness. I want to help more people discover their perfect ritual and experience the transformative effect.

After the FBCC, what are the next steps for Ritual?

I came to USD to learn how to start and run an employee benefits business with the intention of starting my business during the MBA program. I can’t wait to hear feedback from the judges, optimize the plan and start developing a prototype. I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science from SHU so I plan to take Intersession coding the app and doing alpha testing on family and friends.

Fambam

Team: Abhimanyu Sharma ’23 (MBA), Mark Murphy ’23 (MBA)

What business idea do you propose?

When Mark’s son first crawled, he thought there should be a better way to share photos of the momentous moment with his family. Fambam is an interactive living family tree that survives us. It encourages users to upload pictures, videos, achievements and family history material so that future generations can easily access information about their families.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned while preparing for FBCC?

We realized that an idea should never be rigid, it should be very flexible and receptive to change. Our revenue model and our marketing techniques have evolved a lot since its inception. As we receive more and more feedback from our peers and faculty, our idea takes shape into a refined business plan.

After the FBCC, what are the next steps for Fambam?

We received a lot of valuable feedback and motivation from our professors and peers to continue working on our idea. Torero Ventures Lab is a course that we will certainly take to work on our business idea. There are also many other resources and competitions that we can bring our idea to, all thanks to the incredible resources provided to us by the USD School of Business.

EcoBreeze

Team: Kylie Rios ’22 (Electrical Engineering), Mary Hinek ’22 (Marketing), Meghan Pipitone ’22 (Electrical Engineering), Colton Landaiche ’22 (Integrated Engineering)

What business idea do you propose?

EcoBreeze is an ecological and economical alternative to conventional air conditioning. Our innovative cooling system uses proven technology, thermoacoustic cooling to make cooling systems available to low-income communities.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned while preparing for FBCC?

Bridging the gap between business and engineering is a difficult task. For example, coming up with a good engineering idea is useless if there is no market for the product. In turn, a good business plan needs an efficient and reliable product. It has been invaluable to combine a technological skill set with an entrepreneurial spirit.

What are the next steps for EcoBreeze after FBCC?

We will have our first prototype completed by January 2022. We will then spend the spring semester modifying the design parameters in order to increase product efficiency and reduce production costs. We plan to offer low-cost options to households by May 2022.

The 3rd Fowler Business Concept Challenge is hosted by the USD School of Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation Catalyst, which offers a strong program of student entrepreneurship competitions and activities throughout the year.


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