|UMD LaBounty Entrepreneur Competition winners (l-r): Craig Simonson, Pure Cleaning; Tyler Olsen, Oslo Home Services; and Lance Zetah, ZDesign.|
|UMD LaBounty Entrepreneur Competition Sustainability Award winners (l-r): Nicole Knutson and Kelsey Herzog, Virtual Reality Application Design.|
The fourth annual UMD LaBounty Entrepreneur Competition winners were announced at a ceremony on April 17. The competition teaches students how to research, forecast, and analyze their business ideas through a feasibility study.
Contestants participated in workshops to develop their ideas with help from faculty, business development counselors, and other students. After participating in these workshops, students submit their studies to get written feedback from entrepreneurs, investors, and others.
Competition judges were drawn from the community and included local entrepreneurs, bankers, and Center for Economic Development counselors.
The first place winner, receiving $1,000 in funding, was Craig Simonson, Pure Cleaning, carpet and upholstery cleaning in the Duluth area using natural/organic cleaners. Simonson, a senior majoring in Finance and Organizational Management, impressed the judges with his deep knowledge of his market: who and where they are, the strengths and weaknesses of his competitors, and his clear vision of what the customers appreciate.
The second place winner, receiving $750 in funding, was Tyler Olsen, Oslo Home Services, customized home maintenance service for upscale homeowners in the Twin Cities. Olsen, a senior majoring in Organizational Management with a minor in Marketing, was noted by the judges as having the potential to tap into a market that appreciates high quality products and services and will jump at the chance to never have to worry about home maintenance issues.
The third place winner, receiving $500 in funding, was Lance Zetah, ZDesign, a web page design and implementation for small businesses in Duluth. The judges stated that Zetah’s firm solves a gap in the market and provides a service badly needed by many small companies. Zetah is a senior majoring in Economics with a minor in Business Administration.
Winners of the Sustainability Award, receiving a $100 gift card, were Kelsey Herzog, a junior majoring in Management Information Systems, and Nicole Knutson, a sophomore majoring in Health Care Management, Virtual Reality Application Design, planning to offer electronic grocery store coupons.
“I applaud all the contestants, as they have poured their ideas and energy into inventing their own future,” said Pat Borchert, assistant professor in the Department of Management Studies and the Entrepreneurship Club advisor.
About the LaBounty Center
In 2008, the Labovitz School of Business and Economics formed the LaBounty Center for Entrepreneurship, after receiving a donation from Roy LaBounty, founder and former president of LaBounty Manufacturing in Two Harbors, Minn. In 1999, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards event. LaBounty passed away in November 2007.
The UMD LaBounty Entrepreneur Competition is designed to draw a broad spectrum of business ideas from students of any major. It was the goal of Roy LaBounty, when he made his contribution to UMD, to help create successful entrepreneurs. His hope was that those entrepreneurs would start new businesses, contributing to the economy of Northeast Minnesota. This competition develops skills needed by budding entrepreneurs, and also rewards those who devote the passion and energy to push their ideas forward.