Story by Doug Carroll
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
Entrepreneurs the world over have heard it: If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
Anthony Baskovitz took those words to heart, working to fine-tune a business concept that finished out of the money in the inaugural Canyon Challenge competition last April.
His efforts paid off on Thursday when Error Tec, Baskovitz’s venture to eliminate mistakes that occur during the administration of medication, won the $7,000 grand prize in the second Challenge.
“We had a better understanding of our market and what we wanted to accomplish,” said Baskovitz, a Grand Canyon University senior, when asked what he had learned from his first try. He said he will use the winnings to recruit investors, estimating that Error Tec needs $25,000 in seed money to get off the ground.
Food With Purpose, an innovative plan designed by GCU junior Katie Leiler around protein shakes and other healthful food options, took second place and an award of $2,000. Finishing third ($1,000) was JEM’s Feed, a pets business presented by online student Jerrod Mayne of Sierra Vista.
Five finalists each made 10-minute presentations before an Ethington Theatre audience and a panel of five judges. The panel asked five minutes of follow-up questions after each presentation.
The other two finalists were Private Tutoring Success, an academic tutoring and coaching business (graduate student Kay Nwe Win), and Millennium III Educational Solutions, a software for reviewing research literature (online doctoral learner Tim Anderson). A total of 74 entries were received in the competition, more than half of them from online students.
“The vision for this (contest) is that it becomes a feeder for our incubator program, moving from idea to implementation,” said Tim Kelley, the GCU assistant professor who teaches entrepreneurship and co-sponsors the IDEA club (Innovation, Development & Entrepreneurship Association) at the University.
Baskovitz's idea was praised as “very smart” by Thom Brodeur, one of the judges, an executive with Tallwave Accelerator who has nearly 20 years of experience with startups and has judged similar competitions.
“The market in health care is growing and scalable,” Brodeur said afterward. “He was clear and concise about the business, and even when (the judges) pushed back, he had conviction.
“Entrepreneurs have to believe in the torch they’re carrying, or they’ll lose the relay.”
In his presentation, Baskovitz noted that medication errors contribute to 116,000 deaths a year in the United States. Through NFC tags affixed to medication containers plus MedCheck apps on mobile devices, such errors could be greatly reduced or eliminated, he said.
“This is a visible solution to a costly epidemic,” he said.
Another judge, Randall Lindsey, liked the fact that Baskovitz wasn’t discouraged by his first try.
“He refined his concept and adopted more of the available technology,” said Lindsey, a business attorney who also was on the panel last year. “The judges thought this was a business that could really grow.
“The essence of entrepreneurship is that you keep going at it.”
Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].