Student business teams pitched their business ideas last week and competed for $ 75,000 in prizes in an annual business plan competition hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the WSU.
More than 28 student business teams, representing nearly 150 students from three leagues, participated in the virtual event on Thursday.
The top five varsity league teams in the competition, which consisted of 19 WSU teams, received a cash prize, Unkle Drew’z Ginger Sauce winning the Herbert B. Jones Grand Prize of $ 15,000.
Unkle Drew’z Ginger Sauce was created by father-son team Drew and Brighton Maughan from Kirkland, and WSU student Cole Hensley. The sauce is a dressing, dip, and marinade that can be used on a variety of foods.
The ginger sauce is inspired by a long-standing family recipe that Drew Maughan would prepare for Sunday dinners and barbecues, said Brighton Maughan, a business and entrepreneurship specialist at WSU.
The prize money will be used to produce batches of the sauce, which the team could potentially display at trade shows, Maughan said.
“We are awaiting approval from the WSU research center,” Maughan said. “They’re checking the pH levels and we have to get FDA approval. Then we can start selling the sauce.
Maughan said the team will also create a Facebook page for the product in the near future.
Other varsity league winners include: AnyLease, a platform that helps people navigate leases digitally; 3D Innovations and Academics, a service company providing an educational platform and community for groups exploring 3D printing; Accustomed Accommodations, a service company providing affordable accommodation using recycled materials; and Cleantech Kiosk, a stand-alone kiosk for cleaning personal electronic devices.
Over 100 entrepreneurs, investors and industry leaders served as judges for the event, according to a WSU press release.
Teams were judged on the basis of presentation, development of a solution to a customer problem, and business plans, among others.
“Our judges and staff were inspired by the hard work of these young entrepreneurs and the creativity of the ideas presented in this year’s Virtual Business Plan competition,” CES director Marie Mayes said in a statement.
Red Thread Unraveled won $ 5,000 for first place in the high school league competition. Red Thread Unraveled, founded by Mead High School student Zoe Sponseller, sells memberships and gift boxes to Chinese adoptees in an effort to maintain their cultural connection to China.
Some 32 teams from outside the WSU have applied to participate in the Open League.
Groove from Gonzaga University took home the top prize of $ 5,000.
Led by Abby Dodd, Emmy Wagner and Stella Beemer, Groove offered a free extension for Google Chrome that uses a database of information on sustainability-related companies to categorize products into three categories: carbon emissions, fair trade. and impact on waste.