School Awards More Than $50,000 in Annual Business Plan Competition
April 17, 2015
|Pictured, from left to right: Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of the School's entrepreneurship programs; Nicholas Sando and Jake Elliot, founders of SnagTag and 2014 Business Plan Competition winners; Hunter Bihn, grand prize winner, undergraduate track; and Adrian Alvarez, program director, The Launch Pad, University of Miami.|
Innovations in the areas of everyday life improvement, access to higher education, and an invention to prevent urinary tract infections in patients have taken top honors in the University of Miami’s 2015 Business Plan Competition, hosted by the School and sponsored by The Launch Pad. The competition winners, honored in an awards ceremony April 17, took home a combined total of $52,500 in first, second, third and other prizes.
Hunter Bihn won the Grand Prize and $10,000 in the undergraduate student category for DiBi, a patented, portable container for diabetics that both carries and disposes insulin pens and needles.
In the graduate student category, Erica Barrios, Phi Ho, and Iman Rabizadeh took home the Grand Prize and $10,000 for their venture, MediTick which prevents urinary tract infections in patients with urinary catheters.
And in the University of Miami alumni category, Eric Stepansky and David Primach won the Grand Prize and $10,000 for Campus Breeze which tackles higher education access issues.
|Pictured, from left to right: Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of the School's entrepreneurship programs; Phi Ho and Iman Rabizadeh, grand prize winners, graduate track; and Adrian Alvarez, program director, The Launch Pad, University of Miami.|
Second Place in the undergraduate category and $5,000 went to Jake Esposito, Mitchell Pasqualoni and Courtney Wemyss for Grain, a software that runs iOS and Android devices. Second Place in the graduate category and $5,000 went to Adam Rosen, Alexander Barsan, Sarah Sonny, Danielle Neuman and Sebastian Rivera of HouseCall MD, which offers health care via mobile phone. Second Place in the alumni category and $5,000 went to Kristina Astone and Jennifer Tang of Lavender & Lace, a lavender-based apothecary company.
Third Place in the undergraduate category with $2,500 went to Spencer George and David Silverman for Ubitt LLC which simplifies the purchase of goods. Third Place and $2,500 in the graduate category went to Veronica Fortino, Jordan Greenberg and Carlos Carballosa for Stemcellect, an innovation in dental stem cells; while Third Place and $2,500 in the alumni category went to Christopher Poore for Cornverter, ethanol kits for performance vehicles.
In addition to the undergraduate, graduate and alumni category prizes, the Paul K. Sugrue Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and $1,000 was presented to Charles Tyler Szuchan of PocketDoc, an innovative mobile telehealth company.
|Pictured, from left to right: Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of the School's entrepreneurship programs; David Primach, grand prize winner, alumni track; and Adrian Alvarez, program director, The Launch Pad, University of Miami.|
“The quality of the business plans presented this year was extremely impressive,” said Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of entrepreneurship programs at the School of Business. “The teams brought forward plans ready to go beyond the ideas phase and right into execution. It makes sense that the entrepreneurial culture of both the School of Business and South Florida region would produce such big thinkers.”
The Business Plan Competition started last fall when 64 concept papers were submitted to the judging committee. Ultimately 42 semifinalists were asked to submit their business plans and after another round of judging 15 final teams were selected to present to the judges on April 15-16, with the winners named the following day. The judges included 15 successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from South Florida and the Northeast.
Now in its 13th year, the Business Plan Competition is open to all University of Miami students and alumni. Past winners in the competition have gone on to build their ventures into businesses that have garnered national attention. They include such companies as College Hunks Hauling Junk and My Therapy Journal.com, both of which have been featured on ABC Television's “Shark Tank,” a reality program in which entrepreneurs share their business ideas with a group of five self-made millionaires in hopes of getting venture capital to help them attain similar levels of success.