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UT's Undergraduate Business Plan Competition Launches New Businesses

ut business plan competition
Left to right, Colleen Cruze, Seth Elliott, Joey Natour, Kristine Palmer, Emily Ryan, Tevin Manuel, Jordan Peace, Austin Eldridge and Nate Buchanan.

KNOXVILLE -– The Fourth Annual Business Plan Competition gave some new businesses a kickstart. The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville enabled thirty-four teams to compete for $20,000 in prize money and $5,000 in donated services.

All teams competed for the $20,000 in prize money donated by UT alumni. The two first-place winners received complimentary start-up accounting services from Brenda Boyd, CPA, a 1990 college alum.

The students competed in two separate categories -- a technology-enabled business category or a lifestyle business category. The two first-place winners are already using their prize money to launch their companies.

Joey Natour and Seth Elliott won first place in the technology-enabled category for Dine Touch, a sophisticated at-the-table restaurant ordering system. The system will be beta-tested in a Knoxville restaurant.

Colleen Cruze won first place in the lifestyle category for Farm Made Ice Cream, an upscale ice cream made from high-quality milk obtained from a local dairy.

For the first time, two teams tied for second place in the lifestyle category, splitting $5,000. The winners included Emily Ryan for Project Architect, a social-cause foundation to introduce minority women to the world of architecture through one-week summer camps; Kristine Palmer for Mane Match, a sophisticated algorithm to match horses with potential buyers.

Other winners in the technology-enabled category included Second Place ($3,000): Tevin Manuel for Academic Pathways, software to assist high-school guidance counselors manage students through the college-application process; Third Place ($2,000): Nate Buchanan, Austin Eldridge, and Jordan Peace for Social Legends, a method of connecting fans with sports legends.

"The Business Plan Competition was designed to develop and encourage an entrepreneurial culture on campus and to support aspiring young entrepreneurs in their quest to create value," said Tom Graves, operations director of the college's Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

"Creating an awareness and entrepreneurial culture across campus has always been one of the objectives of the competition," added Associate Dean Alex Miller. "No discipline has a monopoly on good ideas, and that came through clearly in this year's competition."

Published April 28, 2011

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