By Michael Ferraresi
GCU News Bureau
With $7,000 on the line, five start-up businesses with GCU ties make their public presentations Thursday at the second-annual Canyon Challenge business competition.
The five business plans selected for the final round of the competition include a Sierra Vista, Ariz. pet food company and an educational software company based in Minnesota. With small or start-up businesses like those, any cash infusion could help redesign a website, streamline manufacturing, or help train employees.
Canyon Challenge organizers received 74 business pitches this year – up from the 46 executive summaries submitted for the inaugural event last year. A student-led sports memorabilia company named The Fan Post won the $3,500 grand-prize last year.
This year, the stakes are higher. Prizes for first, second and third places were doubled from last year to provide even more incentive for participation.
The event was held in GCU Arena last year, though it moved to Ethington Theatre – where it takes place from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday. Canyon Challenge is hosted by Tim Kelley, the Ken Blanchard College of Business assistant professor who helped launched the Innovation, Development and Entrepreneurship Association last year. A panel of business leaders judges the entrants on their full business plans and public presentations.
Reid Simpson, IDEA club president, said he learned much since his Wild Horse Coffee company finished second to The Fan Post last year. He said students this year have a better understanding of what it takes to make a complete pitch to the judges and also keep the audience engaged in a presentation.
“We just want to be able to grow successful companies,” said Simpson, a junior. “Then when they talk about their founding stories they can say they started it on campus at GCU.”
Here’s a breakdown of the five Canyon Challenge finalists -----
Company name: Private Tutoring Success.
Focus: Academic tutoring and coaching.
CEO: Kay Nwe Win (who is also vice president of the IDEA club).
Private Tutoring Success caters to everyone from middle school students to doctoral candidates. The Phoenix-based company offers private academic coaching to Phoenix metro area students primarily, though they also serve some out of state students via Skype and telephone. Tutors are skilled on a range of school subjects and languages.
Company name: JEM’s Feed.
Focus: Pet food and supplies.
CEO: Jarrod Mayne
The family-owned retail pet food and supply business based in Sierra Vista in southeastern Arizona is looking to expand with a veterinarian clinic to handle spays and neuters of dogs and cats. The business needs money to build the clinic and purchase medical equipment so it can expand its services to pet owners.
Company name: Millennium III Educational Solutions.
Focus: Educational software for reviewing research literature.
CEO: Timothy Anderson.
Based in Minnesota, the educational software company was established only one year ago through a doctoral program study. Anderson, a research doctoral candidate with 20 years’ experience in the software industry and other experience as an online instructor, sees the company as a way to give students solutions to learn how to critically evaluate research.
Company name: Error Tec.
Focus: Healthcare medication technology.
CEO: Anthony Baskovitz.
Error Tec provides technology to promote proper medication use by patients and prevent potentially fatal errors. That type of preventable misuse of medication equates to up to $72 billion in annual waste due to insurance claims and other fallout from cases, according to Error Tec’s business plan executive summary. Company leaders believe the telemedicine market will nearly triple in size to $27.3 billion by 2016, which leads to a greater need for Error Tec solutions like smartphone applications that warn patients or clinics about misuse of prescriptions.
Company name: Food with Purpose.
Focus: Protein shakes and other health foods.
CEO: Katie Leiler.
Food with Purpose's executive summary that begins with the line, "It's time to say goodbye to the Freshman 15." The health food start-up is seeking a partnership with GCU and food services provider Sodexho to bring protein shakes and health food to campus, with the idea that GCU's model could be scalable to other college campuses.
Contact Michael Ferraresi at 639.7030 or [email protected].