Senior wins business competition

April 16, 2013

By Rumasa Noor

UW-Whitewater organization CEO organized the seventh Annual Warhawk Business Plan Competition on April 9 at the University Center. The competition aimed to give students a platform to present their startup ideas in front of experienced business individuals.

CEO has been organizing this competition for the past seven years as a means to promote student entrepreneurs. It encourages students to present their business ideas.

The competition was organized in a similar manner as Shark Tank, the television show on ABC. Students presented their pitches to a panel of judges. Each individual pitch was followed by a question and answer session from the judges.

The finalists of the competition included Travis Garski,  Alec Tranel, Greg Heal and Matthew Schultz.

Travis Garski – winner

Garski was declared the winner of the competition and was awarded $5,000 prize money. His business idea is to organize a Midwest Game Developers Summit (MGDS), a game development conference to provide a platform for video game lovers to get together to share their knowledge with each other.

Garski is a senior double majoring in general management BBA and media arts & game development. He said he is interested in taking part in competitions in the future as well.

“This is a great experience, great opportunity to improve my presentation skills,” Garski said. “It’s a great experience to get a head of the game in terms of later competitions.”

Alec Tranel – Second place

Tranel, freshman entrepreneurship major, placed second in the competition and was awarded $2,500. He is the founder of NoDisHere, a social networking website aimed to connect people with disabilities to those who have similar disabilities or symptoms. The website is free for the users.

Tranel said the medical companies would be able to advertise on this website to reach out to their market.

“I have a business idea, and the competition is a perfect place to get feedback and to kind of cultivate that experience,” Tranel said. “In a sense, the competition is everything you are going to do throughout your business except you don’t have investors. We have judges instead, but everything else is just the same.”

Greg Heal – Third place

Heal, junior general business major, received third place along with $1,500. His business idea is invert ebooks, a mobile app that allows people to exchange their print books with discounted e-books, if they donate their print books to the local library or school.

“I so like the fact that it gives me practice speaking in front of people so I know how to sell myself and my company,” Heal said. “I would like to add a lot of different features starting with a mobile application of my idea because I believe that will give me a competitive advantage to my indirect competitors.”

The remaining finalist included Matthew Schultz, freshman and accounting major. Schultz presented his idea Art Entente, which is intended to connect the artist with the art commissioner.

The adviser of CEO, William Dougan, P.h.D., said the competition provides students with an opportunity to think outside the box. Instead of aiming to work for a company, students can think about finding their own way to support themselves.

“It helps students by giving them an opportunity to make their dreams come true,” Dougan said. “There are students who have gone through this contest, and who are now operating very successful businesses and are contributing to the Wisconsin community.”