Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Whitworth students invest in community and futures through Inland Northwest Business Plan Competition


The 2014 Inland Northwest Business Plan Competition allows regional college students to take steps toward starting successful businesses by competing for prizes totaling $22,500 in three categories: student-generated, community-based and social-enterprise.

The BPC is a collaboration between Whitworth, Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University and Spokane Falls Community College. This year’s participants also include students from North Idaho University, Washington State University, the University of Idaho and Seattle Pacific University.

The competition received 120 entries this year; after the first round of pitch videos and executive summaries, the entries have been narrowed down to 65. Eleven Whitworth teams remain in the running.

Five finalists will be selected in each category to present their business plans to a panel of judges on Thursday, April 24. The final pitches will take place from 1-4 p.m., and will be followed by a reception and awards ceremony from 4:30-6 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall’s Robinson Teaching Theatre at Whitworth. This event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

“This competition offers a valuable opportunity for students to work with community members and to meet potential investors,” says Tate White, assistant director of graduate studies in business at Whitworth and lead coordinator for the competition.

 According to White, the competition allows students to generate ideas, think them through, and develop them into a reality. “It allows them to turn the creative into the tangible,” he says.

Whitworth teams have a history of success in this competition. In 2013, Whitworth students Devon DeJardin, ’16, and Cody DeJardin, ’14, placed first in the student-generated category with their proposal, “Perspectives: Clothing and Apparel”; in 2012, Kyle Jordan, ’12, placed first in the student-generated with his proposal “Whitworth Lawn Boys”; and graduate students Tara Lambert, Kimberlee Betts and Mandell Campbell placed first in the community-based category with their proposal “MaidNaturally.” Cody DeJardin is serving as one of the five judges for this year’s student-generated category.

Following is a sampling of Whitworth’s 2014 teams and their plans:

Photoboxx, by computer science majors Devon Lind, ’14 and Michael Fisk was submitted in the social enterprise category. Their pitch video explains what their business plan is about: http://vimeo.com/88289960

Whitworth Master of Business Administration students Danielle Kaschmitter, Jie Ji and Sri Purohith submitted their real-estate development plan in the community-based category. They are working closely with Pete Rayner, co-owner of Spokane’s event catering company Beacon Hills. Learn more in the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF-qIv3CKGQ

The BPC is supported through generous sponsorships from Avista, Spokane Teachers Credit Union, Technet, Greater Spokane Incorporated, and the Herbert Jones Foundation.

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

Contacts:

Tate White, assistant director of graduate studies in business, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4606 or twhite@whitworth.edu.

Lucas Beechinor, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or lbeechinor@whitworth.edu.