Westminster College Announces Opportunity Quest Business Plan Winners
Wireless company’s business plan takes first prize of $5,000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Krista DeAngelis, (801) 832-2682
Jan. 29, 2010
SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster College’s Institute for New Enterprise is pleased to announce MBA student Tommy Aoki as the first place winner of the 2009-2010 Opportunity Quest business plan competition for his company “Wireless Technologies.” The announcement was made at the third annual awards banquet on January 28 where he received an award check of $5,000.
Westminster’s Opportunity Quest is a campus-wide business plan competition that fosters and promotes business innovation at the university level by giving students a chance to create, develop and present their business ideas in front of a judging panel. Cash prizes were awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams during the banquet.
Aoki’s winning company, Wireless Technologies, is a business that aspires to be a premier retailer of wireless products and services in the Midwest region, beginning operations in Southeast, Texas. As the sole team member for the project, Aoki relied on his years of experience in the industry to develop the plan.
“The business plan I created was similar to the business I’ve worked in for about 13 years, and the area I chose came about from market research,” he explained. Aoki believes that one of the reasons he won the competition was that he focused on a proven method of retailing. “So not only was my plan credible, but it had a high likeliness of success,” he added.
This year's competition featured 60 teams. From September through January, students participated in educational forums on marketing, business plan writing, finance and intellectual property protection. In December, 10 finalists were selected from the 31 executive summaries submitted. In January, 10 teams presented their business plans in front of a judging panel, and three winners were selected to receive cash prizes.
“The judging panel consisted of venture capitalists, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs and other successful and knowledgeable business leaders,” said Kate Larsen, Opportunity Quest director. “The overall selection of winners is based on the viability and likely success of the business.”
During the awards banquet, the 2nd place team, ZUTHE, received $2,000. Led by team leader Tim Lawlor, the company produces the “Zuthe” throat drop, an all natural anti-viral throat drop. WeDo Entrepreneurs received a 3rd place check of $1,000. Led by David Wintzer, the company distributes 100 percent natural banana flour from Kenya to the U.S. allowing millions of Americans suffering from celiac disease the opportunity to eat a healthy, gluten-free alternative to wheat.
As Westminster’s 1st place winner, Wireless Technologies will automatically advance as a finalist in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (UEC), the statewide business plan competition open to all college students across the state. All teams participating in Westminster Opportunity Quest can compete in the UEC state competition. The first place winner of the UEC will receive $40,000 in cash to launch their company.
This year’s Opportunity Quest was sponsored by the KeyBank Foundation, Zions Bank, Discover Card and Strong and Hanni Law Firm.
To learn more about Westminster Opportunity Quest, visit www.westminstercollege.edu/opportunityquest.
About The Institute for New Enterprise:
The Institute for New Enterprise at Westminster College has established the Opportunity Quest business plan competition as one of its flagship programs to foster innovative ideas, and provide an experiential learning process to validate, plan and develop sustainable business models. The Institute for New Enterprise is housed under the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business with its overall mission to help individuals create organizations that promote independence and self-sufficiency, and make significant contributions to our communities. For more information visit: http://www.westminstercollege.edu/ine
About KeyBank Foundation:
KeyBank Foundation is a private foundation funded by KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY). Charitable grants are given by the foundation to charitable organizations in the communities that Key serves. Grants from KeyBank Foundation principally support organizations and institutions that promote economic independence through financial education and workforce initiatives that foster diversity and inclusion. Visit https://www.key.com/html/A-12.html to access Key’s Report on Philanthropic Investment, or download the report directly at https://www.key.com/pdf/philanthropicir.pdf.
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information, visit www.westminstercollege.edu.