Students put business ideas to test

MBA students with first-place check for business plan competition.

MBA students Kristen Perhach, Anthony Mammana-Lupo and Alex Duchak won first place for their business plan for ThirtyFiveK Inc. Photo: Julie Jaidinger

The room was filled with lots of good ideas — business solutions for everything from data recovery to finding craft breweries — at UIC’s eighth annual Concept2Venture Business Plan Competition.

The C2V contest, sponsored by the College of Business Administration and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, gives potential entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete for resources, money and exposure. All UIC students are eligible.

“C2V provides a forum for students to present their original business plans to mentors and potential investors,” said Rod Shrader, Denton Thorne chair in entrepreneurship and faculty director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

“The feedback they receive is invaluable. In addition, the excitement surrounding C2V helps cultivate and maintain a culture of entrepreneurship throughout UIC.”

Judges included entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors from firms like Cricket, Chase, Caterpillar, Microsoft and Red Rocket.

First-place winner among 11 teams at the competition Dec. 17 and 18 on campus was ThirtyFiveK Inc., which offered a business plan for an environmentally friendly, water-repellant industrial coating that prevents corrosion and mineral build-up.

The ThirtyFiveK team — MBA students Anthony Mammana-Lupo, Alex Duchak and Kristen Perhach — won the $2,500 top prize and the competition’s $500 Clean and Green award.

According to their pitch, the coating — developed by a scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory — is safe for food processing and could have applications in industries ranging from power generation to seawater desalination.

EverFile Systems, developed by MBA students James DeMory and Benjamin Lachman, won the $1,000 second prize and the $500 Fan Favorite award. EverFile provides expandable data backup and recovery to prevent outages and reduce data storage costs.

Arthur Anderson, student in UIC's Liautaud Graduate School of Business, makes a presentation at the 2012 Concept2Venture Business Plan Competition.

Arthur Anderson makes a presentation for the AwardGuru team. Photo: Julie Jaidinger

Other winners were:

• Best Elevator Pitch, $1,000: Health on Time, a mobile/web app that links patients, health care providers and electronic health records using video technology for medication counseling, developed by Soojin Jun, Jennifer Mourafetis and Amata Sok, doctoral students in the College of Pharmacy

• HopSpot, $500: a mobile platform that connects consumers with local craft beers, developed by MBA student Joshua Reed and MBA/master’s in public health student Catherine Jefcoat

• 2DP, $500: a business that offers high-resolution digital images of microscope slides and accompanying diagnostic algorithms for pathologists, developed by Mark Lloyd, a doctoral student in bioengineering

• RoadiesOnRoad, $500: a web/mobile app for planning road trips based on user preferences and public data sources, developed by Cijo Thomas, Janith Kaiprath Valiyalappil andJeevan Joseph, graduate students in information sciences.

Past C2V winners have gone on to success in national business plan competitions and several have launched as start-up companies, including OrthoAccel Technologies and Optimal Vision Corp.

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