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Westminster Entrepreneurs Take First Place

Westminster Entrepreneurs Take First Place

A pair of Westminster entrepreneurs beat out more than 150 entrants across the state, winning a $40,000 first-place prize in the 2002 Utah Entrepreneurial Challenge. Jon Butler, an MBA student, and Trevor Suelzle, an MBA alumnus, entered their business plan in the statewide competition. The challenge invites student-led teams from Utah universities and colleges to create the most realistic and fiscally sound business plan possible. The business plans are then put under the scrutiny of 10 judges composed of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, legal experts, and financial consultants. The top three business plans, those deemed most likely to succeed, are awarded startup capital.

Westminster has been the breeding ground for the pair's company, Entertainment NOW!, and for what they believe will be a new distribution model for electronic and audio media. Their idea (patent-pending concept, model, and platform) allows customers to compile their own CDs at entertainment kiosks. The team has already secured rights to offer more than 40,000 songs, 20,000 audio books, and 2,000 albums through ATM-sized distribution sites they call "AudioCandyBoxes," which will located at travel hubs across the country. After a quick credit-card swipe, the user's customized entertainment is written directly to a CD-complete with jewel case-ready for listening by weary airline travelers and motorists at their convenience. Butler and Suelzle expect a prototype to be available this summer.

Butler credits his education at Westminster as the key factor in their success. "Two years ago when I came to the college, I had an idea in mind for a business, but it was the faculty and the courses I took at Westminster that really helped me build the idea into a viable startup company," he said. "Westminster's entrepreneurship program, its partnership with the Wayne Brown Institute, and the dedication of the faculty have really helped me to build the foundation for our business. But what advanced our company the most was the college's MasterTrack program. We had access to top executives who were very committed to us, spending their valuable time and expertise helping us realize our goals."

Congratulations to the team and all the faculty, staff, and mentors who helped them along the way.