Katherine Brandenstein, left, and Emily Willard receiving one of their $5,000 awards.
2. DTS UW BPCDTS Aerospace pitching their business venture. 3. CWU-nomAD Left: Steve Trabun, Avista regional business manager (emerging technology category sponsor) presenting nomAD with the third place prize at the Northwest Entrepreneur Competition.

WSU Students Take their Pitches on the Road

By Meagan Garrett

Spring semester brings the business plan competition circuit to the Northwest. In addition to WSU’s Business Plan Competition, most other universities in the area host their own business plan competition or series of competitions. This year, WSU student entrepreneurs competed at the following competitions, earning impressive results:

The University of Washington Environmental Innovation Challenge focused on student teams that created business solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental problems. Team Protium Innovations was invited to compete and showcase their solutions for the transportation and storage of liquid hydrogen.

The University of Washington Health Innovation Challenge focused on student teams that created businesses and solutions around existing health or health care problems. WSU team, Engage, won first place and $10,000. Engage’s device, “SafeShot,” reduces the spread of blood borne pathogens as a result of contaminated needles used in injections. Engage was the only non-UW team in the competition.

The University of Washington Business Plan Competition provided an opportunity for business and science students to present new business plans to Seattle area venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and investors. Engage won fourth place and $5,000. Additionally, Engage earned the $5,000 WinWin Tri Sector Prize awarded to a for-profit venture with a product that creates a win-win with the public, private, and social sectors. WSU teams DTS Aerospace and nomAD also participated and advanced to the investor round, where the top 36 teams are invited to pitch to a room full of investors in a trade show environment.

  • The Northwest Entrepreneur Competition was a three-round business plan competition comprised of students from WSU, University of Idaho, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, Eastern Washington University, and the Community Colleges of Spokane. More than 70 student teams entered the competition. Two WSU teams, nomAD and Co-Optical, competed in the final round. nomAD won third place and $2,500. nomAD’s revolutionary advertising product uses portable, smart technology to reach college students on university campuses through a network of student “carriers.”