Of the 14 student teams still in the running for the top prize in the seventh annual Business Plan Competition, four of them – the most from any State System school – are from Clarion University.
The winner of the $10,000 prize in the competition, held by Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education, will be announced at an April 4 awards ceremony at Shippensburg University. Second- and third-place finishers will receive $5,000 and $2,500, respectively.
The annual competition provides student entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch their original business plans and to win funds to assist in the start-up or expansion of their businesses. Students from the 14 State System universities were invited to participate in the competition in the fall. Nearly 200 students and student teams submitted their business ideas.
The four Clarion teams and their business plans are:
- Andrew Skubisz Music, Andrew Skubisz: Offers recordings, performances and other services associated with the original songwriting of Andrew Skubisz to individual consumers as well as businesses.
- Harmony, LLC, Megan Fannin: A small restaurant that would offer music lessons in downtown Clarion.
- Enhanced Visual, Logan Chernicky: Uses drone technology along with cutting-edge software platforms to allow construction site managers and engineers to monitor site progression and to compare actual vs. planned progress to help keep projects on track and under budget.
- Sassy Girl, Samantha Schlak: Would create personal development planners to help women execute their goals. Through research and studies, the Sassy Girl planner would combine the psychological advantages of self-reflection of journaling with daily planning in one convenient location.
Students interacted with the Clarion University Small Business Development Center and the Clarion University Entrepreneurial Leadership Center to develop and refine their innovation ideas and business plans.
"This is an exciting opportunity for our students to put everything they have learned in the classroom to practical use," said Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia D. Shapira. "A number of past winners have gone on to successfully launch the businesses they conceived as part of this practical, real-life experience. There is no better demonstration of how our universities prepare students for success than this competition."
In last year's competition, Bri Nellis, a 2016 Clarion University graduate with a bachelor's degree in communications and a minor in marketing, won second place for her business, Bri Nellis Photography, which offers sports, portrait, and commercial photography services. She used the prize money to expand into the Pittsburgh market and to offer drone photography/videography services.
"It is so exciting just to be able to have the opportunity to listen to the students who participate in this competition each year as they talk about their dreams," said State System interim Chancellor Dr. Karen M. Whitney. "The ingenuity and determination they demonstrate is remarkable. The large number of students who participate each year speaks volumes about our students, the faculty who work with them and everyone who is involved in the competition from start to finish."
The other 10 business plans still in the competition and the students who developed them are:
- Awakened Wellness, Jonathan Burton (Shippensburg University)
- Brew Crew Labs, Jeffrey Dillon (Shippensburg University)
- Blockchain PDMP Management, Tyler Klenk (California University of Pennsylvania)
- CrocReady, Ben Smith (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)
- Gator Oil and Gas Services, Colin Gasper (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)
- Falchion Systems, Zachary Waldman and Nick Neely (East Stroudsburg University)
- Organtick, Amanda Layden (East Stroudsburg University)
- Garden Sitter Service, Zakaria Benbedda (West Chester University)
- Hat Rack Games, Tom Matteson (West Chester University)
- White Rapids, Kevin White (West Chester University)