Office of Governor Bob McDonnell
University of Virginia Team Wins Governor's Business Plan Challenge
~21 Virginia Undergraduate Teams Competed for $10,000 Top Prize~
RICHMOND – Timothy Higgins, Andrew Andreae and Jessica Ungerleider, representing The University of Virginia, won the Capital One Grand Prize today at the Governor's Business Plan Challenge. In recognition of Virginia's strong entrepreneurial environment, the statewide challenge, co-hosted by Work It, Richmond, featured the best business plans or concepts crafted by undergraduate students this year. Twenty-one public and private colleges and universities sent their top presenters to compete in the Business Plan Challenge and receive feedback from a panel of judges and investors.
"The thoughtful plans and ingenuity of the teams here today from schools around Virginia, gives me great hope for our future," said Governor McDonnell. "I'm particularly impressed and offer my congratulations to the team from The University of Virginia, with their innovative blood sampling solution. The idea not only holds business promise, but is one that could improve the lives of patients. I thank the students, universities and judges for their hard work, as well as Capital One and Williams Mullen and the other generous sponsors of today's event. While these students started out with ideas and keen entrepreneurial drive, I hope that today's challenge and the advice and questioning of the mentors and judges helps them further develop their plans and encourages them to take a risk and create the next great business in Virginia."
Capital One Grand Prize: Cash and services valued at $10,000
Andrew Andreae, Timothy Higgins, and Jessica Ungerleider are fourth-year biomedical engineering students at the University of Virginia who have created an innovative solution to the problem of inaccurate and inefficient blood sampling for hospital patients. Inspired by the mosquito, ProVazo's patented IV catheter HemoDrop is the solution to current product limitations. ProVazo seeks to increase efficiency in clinical care settings while also improving upon care standards by introducing an accurate, low cost, minimally invasive, and easy-to-use catheter for the blood sampling.
Williams Mullen First Runner Up: $2,500
Edward Pekalski, Ethan Emanuele, and Andrew McGregor from Christopher Newport University founded SoundSense by Prium Strategies to bring the benefits of modern mobile communications capabilities and the availability of low cost networked sensors to a traditionally, underserved market—the deaf and hard of hearing.
Second Runner Up (Tie)
Justin Dickerson, Jonathan Marsh, Matthew Schell, and John Swanson of Virginia Commonwealth University created "Free Mobility" with the goal of becoming the leader in personal mobility devices. Their design featured autonomous handle leveling, locking wheels, and the ability to fold into a chair and climb stairs.
Todd Saunders and Hank Couture of the College of William and Mary introduced their product "Symplevity," an auction style online marketplace for rental properties in niche college markets. The platform allows students to easily find off-campus housing and make offers for them, and allows property managers to get fair market value for their properties listed.
Honorable Mention: Best Social Enterprise
Liberty University's Enactus Team consists of: Joshua Williams, Tim Abbott, Sam Rouse, Robert Gallup, Tat Kieu Nguyen, Becca Streets, Tom Cirbus, Ricky Allen, Eleni Belay, Nana Abena Manu, and Daniel Kregenow. Their mission at Cup of Hope is to export a superior brand of quality coffee from the Dominican Republic to consumers with a taste for premium coffee and a desire to better the lives of others. They pledge to use their profits to build an orphanage in Santo Domingo and to cultivate the Dominican community by stimulating entrepreneurial ventures of subsistence farmers through the utilization of micro financing.
Honorable Mention: Most Significant Market Disruptor (Tie)
Frank Tchouambou with Old Dominion University created CampusWise, a website designed to make campus life more convenient with exclusivity and organized interaction among students allowing them to share their books amongst one another.
Jack Apgar, Clark Jernigan, Drew Martin, and Stephen Stites of Washington and Lee created WatchDog Diabetes Management, LLC, which strives to provide diabetics with a convenient, comprehensive, and empowering solution to diabetes management
Honorable Mention: Best Quality Pitch
William Correll from Hampden-Sydney College pitched his idea for Olde Virginia Cidery, LLC a new business steeped in history, local pride, and quality that will benefit from and encourage the explosion of hard apple cider enthusiasm nationwide. Cider was king throughout the colonies and much of it was historically fermented in Virginia; Olde Virginia Cidery will be instrumental in bringing this beverage back into Virginia.
Student teams from the following schools participated in the first Governor's Business
Blue Ridge Community College
Christopher Newport University
College of William & Mary
Danville Community College
Eastern Mennonite University
George Mason University
James Madison University
Old Dominion University
University of Richmond
University of Virginia
University of Virginia – Wise
Virginia Commonwealth University
Washington & Lee University
The students competing had access to mentors and entrepreneurial experts who provided advice on starting a business. The Governor's Business Plan Challenge is part of the innoVAte initiative.