The inaugural Red River Valley (RRV) Business Plan Competition was held on April 20 -21, 2018 on the University of North Dakota campus. The competition is a new business plan competition and was open to all UND students.
Already within the first year of the competition there were 15 teams that competed, ranging from a diversity of areas on campus to include Aerospace, Engineering, and the College of Business and Public Administration.
The competition consisted of two rounds and extensive feedback from reviewers. The first round involved a 10-minute presentation to a panel of reviewers followed by detailed feedback on how to proceed with the development of the proposed/actual business. Winners for each track of this round proceeded to the finals where they presented to a separate panel of reviewers. All teams not selected for the finals proceeded to the Sky Challenge where they had two opportunities of 60 seconds each to pitch to reviewers.
With over $50,000 in awards and cash prizes, students not only received expert advice on their business plans but many received cash prizes and in-kind services. Congratulations to this year’s top teams!
1st Place - $7,500 Nordensol - software for use in the oil and gas exploration industry Barco Ngali Yolo, Ahmed Galal, Yannick Agbor
2nd Place - $5,000 SlapShot Air - point-to-point air service for the Dakotas and Montana based out of Bismarck Ryan Adler, Erik Johnsen, Ivar Iversen, Megan Olson, Jiancheng Ji
3rd Place - $3,000 French Taste - French crepe food cart Warren Sai
4th Place - $1,500 Gym Hound Athletics - t-shirts with custom logos Luke LeVesseur, Jeffrey Harken, Josh Seibel, Evan Romuld
Skyway Challenge - Winner - $1,000 Super Farad Corp. - electric buses Davide Callegari, Mantvydas BartKaitis
Skyway Challenge Runner-up - $500 Phonelet - cell phone service featuring no contracts but allowing regular updates Austin Emineth, Jordan Dionne, Zachary Elder
The winning team will also be provided with $30,000 in-kind coaching and consulting services. All participants were provided the opportunity to use Live Plan Software, which is an online system for designing business plans donated by Palo Alto Software.
Many hands were involved to make this event a success to include 20 industry judges and 30 volunteers. The competition was organized and facilitated by Rob Warren, Instructor of Marketing.This high impact experience for students is made possible through the generous support of seed money provided by the Edson & Margaret Larson Foundation. Additional sponsors included the Center for Innovation, College of Engineering & Mines, Grand Forks Economic Development Corporation, Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce, Mean Eyed Cat Venture Labs, and LivePlan. Judges included members of all sorts of businesses and the community, with the finals judges being Barry Wilfahrt (Chamber), Barry Horwitz (Center for Innovation), and Eric Rudolf (Qumo Corporation).