This Saturday, the third Annual Gustie Entrepreneur Cup will host a number of aspiring entrepreneurs, in hopes of propelling their products to a more professional level. At the event, judges will distribute $10,000 in prizes, and the first-prize winner will receive $5,000 and automatically move on to the semi-finals of the “Minnesota Cup”, which is the largest statewide start-up competition in the country!
“[The Minnesota Cup is] a start-up competition and hub to connect Minnesota’s entrepreneurial ecosystem that aims to create jobs and grow our state’s innovation footprint,” the Minnesota Cup’s website said.
The Gustie Entrepreneur Cup is a competition based on student entrepreneurship. It is an experiential learning opportunity for students to develop original entrepreneurial ventures, write and submit business plans, and pitch their projects to the invited judges and to the Gustavus community.
“The competition is a focal point of the effort to create a space at Gustavus where students can experiment with putting innovative ideas into action. We believe that entrepreneurship is the perfect way of blending vocational preparation, service, and liberal arts education,” the Gustavus Economics and Management Department’s website said.
This student entrepreneurship competition has a unique process. Students submit an application and teams were then selected and announced on Mon., May 1 for the final round. The chosen teams then were required to present an eight-minute practice pitch to the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup Leadership Committee before Wed., May 10. Finally, on Sat., May 13 teams will present another eight-minute pitch to the panel of judges.
“In these pitches, competitors need to convince us that their idea is a breakthrough and an innovative approach as well as how their plan is commercially viable. They need to express what is unique or innovative about their approach and show what progress they have made and achieved to validate the opportunity to bring their product/service to market,” the Gustavus Economics and Management Department said.
The event is sponsored by the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup Leadership Committee.
“I love participating in the learning process that the students undergo while preparing for the cup and I love to see how they form and develop relationships with our alumni,” Economics Professor and Director of the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup Marta Podemska-Mikluch said.
The Cup is not only enjoyable for the students, but the professors as well.
“My most enjoyable experience as an adjunct professor is helping student teams develop their entrepreneurial abilities. What can be more relevant for the career goals of the students than strengthening creative thinking and problem solving skills?” Business Law Professor Russ Michaletz said.
As it’s only the third year the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup is being hosted, there has been some changes made since its foundation.
“Originally, the Gustie Cup was for the participants in a class on entrepreneurialism. However, last year it was opened to all students and this year the vast majority of participants did not take the class,” Michaletz said.
This year there is a total of ten teams, each with a unique idea participating in the competition. These ideas include:
“Todo,” created by Junior Anierobi Eziolise is a productivity app that takes advantage of the interconnectedness between people going about their daily lives. It allows a user to get any object delivered and it also connects users to people who can run errands for them.
Senior Karolina Stark created, “Grace Upon Grace” which is a sacred dance company providing a unique, kinesthetically dynamic way to worship.
“Sky Float,” created by Senior Joakim Ekfeldt and Sophomore Matthew Monaghan, is a service that will purchase floatation tanks and offer a tank rental service. Flotation tanks are lightless, soundproof tanks filled with a water and dissolved Epsom salt solution to create a pitch-black environment and enable silent floating.
Senior Scott Anderson created “Miracle Mitts”, which sells disposable-cleaning mitts pretreated with a chemical that is eco-friendly and user-safe, all contained within a Ziploc-type bag.
“Mindful Coffee” was created by Seniors Parker Tinsley, Nolan Rockers, and George Buchner. Their state-of-the-art coffee machines allow customers to purchase and customize their coffee to their liking, simply by using smartphone app technology.
The purpose of the Gustie Community Market is to provide a trusted platform for business connections and to connect alumni business owners with fellow alumni and current students. To achieve this Juniors Jacob Herd, Ali Howe and Senior Austin Warner created, “Fortroenda.”
“Venew” by Senior Rotimi Edu is an Internet company that aims to use technology to connect people and improve the sustainability of information sharing.
“Johnson and Schwartz Technology” was created by Seniors Jacob Johnson and Peter Schwartz. They created “YourDoor” which is a door that comes with a built-in camera and state of the art facial recognition software, allowing it to instantly recognize individuals at the door, check them against a database of access granted users, and will automatically unlock for those who are cleared.
First-year Mohammed Sheikh created “Hangool,” which is an online store that brings the small business owners together, to sell their products locally, nationwide, and worldwide.
Finally, “Rapport Visuals” was created by Juniors Jacob Gonzalez, Anders Raarup, Tanner Mireault, Cody Raduenz and Joe Schultz. It is a multi-angle videography company that is dedicated to finding innovative ways to assist individuals and professionals in commercial and residential real estate.
“Entrepreneurship is all about solving other people’s problems and about effectuating change. So what could be a better way to support Gustavus core values of excellence, community, and service than by engaging students in entrepreneurship?” Mikluch said.
Which team will be the big first-place winner receiving $5,000 and advancing to the MN Cup? Which pitch will impress the judges the most? You will have to wait to find out.
The third annual Gustie Entrepreneur Cup will take place on Sat., May 13 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. in the Beck Atrium.