Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Two Whitworth teams take first place at regional business plan competition

Whitworth teams win for "green" dining delivery service, cattle cooperative

Two Whitworth teams took first place in their respective categories in the 2011 Inland Northwest Business Plan Competition, winning a total of $17,500 in prize money.

Nine teams of students, from Whitworth University, Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University and Spokane Community College, captured a total of $42,500 in cash awards for proposals they submitted for the competition. The competition is a collaboration between Whitworth's School of Global Commerce & Management, Gonzaga's Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, and Eastern Washington University's Center for Entrepreneurial Activities. The competition is open to graduate and undergraduate students from those schools and from SCC.

This year, 38 teams submitted plans in three project categories: social-enterprise, community-based, and student-generated. Fifteen teams were chosen to present their plans during the finals, on Monday, April 18, in Whitworth's Weyerhaeuser Hall; the presentation was followed by an awards ceremony and reception. The top nine teams included four teams from Whitworth, three from Gonzaga, one from Eastern and one from SCC.

Whitworth student Katie Williams took home $10,000 for placing first in the student-generated category. Her business plan, Little Lamp Bites and Snacks, provides a healthy and "green" delivery dining service for college students.

Whitworth graduate students Nicolle Gillie, Dennis Elrod and Kris Meng won $7,500 for taking first place in the community-based category. The team's business plan, The Cattle Producers of Washington, establishes a cooperative-run slaughterhouse, offering USDA slaughtering and meat processing to local ranchers. The plan originally was conceived in response to a request made by the Cattle Producers of Washington, which had contacted Whitworth for assistance in creating a business plan. The organization now is seeking funding to implement the students' proposal.

Whitworth graduate student Terri Echegoyen took third place in the community-based category for her plan, Latah Creek Hardware & Home, and Whitworth students Sean Tennis and Michael Berger took third in the student-generated category for their plan, Foothills Fresh Christmas Trees.

Following are all of the winning teams for each category:

  • Community-based category: The Cattle Producers of Washington, Whitworth (1st place); Jo's Last Chance Convenience Store, SCC (2nd); Latah Creek Hardware & Home, Whitworth (3rd)

  • Social-enterprise category: Aman Jamban, Gonzaga (1st); Salish Grill, EWU (2nd); The Somebody Academy, Gonzaga (3rd)

  • Student-generated category: Little Lamp Bites and Snacks, Whitworth (1st); Goldilocks Lodging Company, Gonzaga (2nd); Foothills Fresh Christmas Trees, Whitworth (3rd)

The plans submitted to the competition were judged by an independent panel of reviewers based on 10 criteria, including social return on investment, feasibility, scalability, funding, and quality of the operating and financial plans.

Faculty members from the Whitworth School of Global Commerce & Management assisted the Whitworth teams by providing academic and practical insight in areas including marketing, finance, e-commerce, legal issues and patents.

Major funding for the competition was provided by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, Telect, Avista, Sterling Savings Bank and Paul Wham Inc.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Mike Allen, business plan competition program coordinator, Whitworth University, (509) 280-2516 or mallen@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.