Harrisburg – More than 200 student teams took what they’ve learned in the classroom and came up with their own business ideas as part of the second Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Student Business Plan competition.
The competition, designed to provide student entrepreneurs a real-world opportunity to pitch their original business plans and to win funds to assist in the start-up of their businesses, will culminate April 15 with an awards ceremony at the Dixon University Center. The first-place winner will receive $10,000; second place, $5,000; and third-place, $2,500.
Embracing PASSHE’s philosophy of not only providing students a quality education, but also preparing them for their careers, the competition is sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU), F&M Trust, PNC Bank, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts and JP Morgan and is partially funded by a Keystone Innovation Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
Students from the 14 PASSHE universities were invited to participate in the competition in the fall. A total of 210 student teams submitted their business ideas. Fifty-nine teams submitted full business venture profiles, from which 21 semi-finalists were initially selected. The entries have been narrowed down to seven finalists.
The finalists are:
• Sploops.com, Paul Rosa of Wyomissing and Sean Roth if Zionsville (Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania)
A social networking concept that would allow sports fans to post 15-second video clips of themselves speaking about popular topics, which then could be viewed by a mass audience. The concept would give the user the ability to interact and reply to other fans’ video posts with their own video posts while experiencing smooth site navigation in an online sports community.
• One Touch, James Palanza of Coal Center (California University of Pennsylvania)
A bar and restaurant ordering system that would enable customers to place their orders and even pay for them via smartphone or touch screen kiosks either while in the establishment or on their way there, eliminating difficult ordering conditions (noise, miscommunication) for bartenders and wait staff, as well as frustrating lines and wait times for customers.
• G&P Plastics, Jared Gilmore of Burgettstown and Zachery Padasak of Johnsonburg (Clarion University of Pennsylvania)
This company would process, design, develop and manufacture plastic products, using “green” production methods with employee safety a top concern. Plastics would be produced through an extrusion process, which melts plastic resin to form different forms of plastic. It would specialize in creating rods, tubes, sheet, and plates that would be further processed into a variety of products.
• Integrative Wildlife Forensics, Thomas Rounsville Jr. of East Stroudsburg (East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania)
A system that would allow investigators collecting evidence at a wildlife crime scene to use essentially the same techniques and technologies that are used in human forensics. The use of such technology in the field could result in rapid identification of potential poachers.
• Dorm Discount (.com), Krutarth Patel of Harrisburg (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)
An internet and mobile based marketing platform designed to allow small businesses to effectively market promotions to college students. The service would provide a unique self-service coupon creator and management system that business owners would use to generate, monitor and modify promotions easily and conveniently, with the goal of maximizing savings to college students while boosting revenues for small business owners.
• Eden Studios, Olusegun Adegboyega Edun of Shippensburg (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania)
A service designed to assist small and medium-sized businesses/individuals in Central Pennsylvania and beyond in the creation of an online business and/or an aggressive web presence by helping them plan, develop and deploy web applications and tell their company's unique stories online and off-line. The service would develop videos, animations and engaging HTML5/Flash micro-sites.
• Vacation Rent-A-Sitter, Jenna Worley of York (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania)
A service for vacationing parents that would provide them with an easy way to find a reliable, certified baby sitter so they could enjoy a break for time to themselves. The service would be implemented across the east coast with Ocean City as the first target market. A new target market would be added every three years.
Judges for this year’s competition are Michael Gildea, president of Brain Gain, LLC; Pam Martin, director of the South Central Region, Ben Franklin Technology Partners; David Dentler, board member, Pennsylvania State Employee Credit Union; Finesse Cobb, vice president of APP Business Solutions; and Michael March, an analyst with Osage Venture Partners.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Multi University Center in Philadelphia.