GU honors Hogan winners
Students at three area colleges collected a large share of $42,500 in prizes awarded by Gonzaga University’s entrepreneurial program on Friday.
A record number of 79 teams that included more than 140 students and some area business owners competed for top prizes in the fifth-annual GU Hogan Entrepreneurial Program business plan competition.
Top awards in three business categories went to students and entrepreneurs proposing a sports-equipment company, a technology firm that alerts property owners of security alarms, and a company hoping to launch a Spokane Valley community market.
For the first time, the competition was a joint effort among Gonzaga, Eastern Washington University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Activities and Whitworth College’s School of Global Commerce and Management.
That partnership resulted from a $20,000 grant provided by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation. The $20,000 grant became part of the cash awards announced Friday afternoon in a ceremony on Gonzaga’s campus.
The awards are presented with no strings attached; winners can choose to launch a business idea or not, said Paul Buller, director of the Hogan Entrepreneurial Program.
The three categories were student-generated for-profit businesses; community businesses in which students provide help; and nonprofit business ideas.
Local business representatives judged the competition.
The winners in the student-generated category are:
First place and $10,000 to Original Lacrosse, presented by Evan Castiglia, Ryan Leong and Drew Shemchuk. The company would develop a new process to manufacture lacrosse sporting equipment.
Second place and $5,000 to Medex, presented by Tommy McWilliams and Ryan Lee.
Third place and $2,500 to Experience Art, presented by Christi Anne Hofland and Julia Bauler.
Winners in the community-based category are:
First place and $7,500 to Remote Monitoring Technologies, presented by Stacy Frances, Brad Herr, Chantel Linquist, Mike McCarthy and Whitney Parsons. RMT, based in Spokane and Post Falls, has developed a sensor unit that sends cell-phone calls to property managers when an intrusion is detected.
Second place and $3,500 to Al Hayek Arts, presented by Bassam Al Hayek, Suman Polepaka and Tobias Mayer.
Third place and $1,500 to Vocere, presented by Spencer Abel, Nick Foley, Brian McCarthy, Sean Stokke and Pardner Wynn.
In the nonprofit social-enterprise category, the winners are:
First place and $7,500 to Spokane County Community Market, presented by Baraka Poulin, Shawn Wheeler, Chris Shellooe, Danielle Rankin and Kaitlin Vadla. The group is proposing developing a community market at the Spokane Valley Mall.
Second place and $3,500 to Mentor Partnering Resource, presented by Jordanna Chord.
Third place and $1,500 to Sunset Dental Services, presented by Marci Lynch, Emily Lynch and Gary Lynch.
So far, two ideas that won awards during the first four competitions have been turned into companies, said Buller. They are GamerZunion, one of last year’s winners, and Bridal Bliss, a second-place finisher in the 2000 competition.
Buller said he felt the competition this year had “two or more ideas that will probably turn into good companies.”
In addition to the Jones Foundation grant, cash donations for the awards came from several area businesses and individuals.