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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA entrepreneurial students awarded for business ideas

Gabriela Diaz
Gabriela Diaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat Howdy celebrates winning the New Venture first place award at McGuire Center’s Venture Showcase and Competition, held on Friday, April 26, 2013 at McClelland Hall. The winning team is composed of Samuel Zarifi, Jonathan Rave, Isaac Gealer and Elizabeth Lansdale.

Twenty-three teams from the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship were recognized for their venture projects on Friday.

During their senior year, business students create a venture team, or a business project, when is then presented at The New Venture Competition and Showcase. First, second and third prize were judged based on the venture concept, the students’ depth of knowledge and their ability to answer questions in the final round, according to Patty Sias, director of the McGuire program.

One of the projects, Howdy, an online marketplace where students can connect with past interns for internship information, won first place and was awarded a plaque and a check of $1,500.

“I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” said Isaac Gealer, a senior studying entrepreneurship and marketing and a member of Howdy. “We’ve been working so hard for a year. Having all this come together in one event is kind of weird. When you’re going through it, nothing seems to be going right the entire time, then out of nowhere it comes together.”

Second place was awarded to Grafted Growers, who created vegetable grafted plants that are able to produce more fruit for longer throughout the growing season. They were presented with a plaque and a $900 check.

“We’re so excited about winning an award. We’re a little disappointed we didn’t get first place but we do understand there is a lot of great ideas here,” said John Jackson, an entrepreneurship MBA senior and member of Grafted Growers. “The whole McGuire experience — having the opportunity of having to pitch and present in front of such great entrepreneurs … is an opportunity that we wouldn’t get in any other format … we look forward to launching our idea here.”

StudyHub, a venture team that matches “undergraduates to teach younger students how to study for specific tests, assignments and classes they have already taken” won third place. A $700 check as well as a plaque was awarded to the team.

“We’re thrilled, we were not expecting this at all,” said Arteen Arabshahi, a senior studying finance and entrepreneurship and a member of StudyHub. “When the program started in the fall we were all pretty good friend who decided to work together and we are happy we had the opportunity to do it in such an organized manner. We’re excited to see what’s next for us.”

Other awards were presented during the event, such as the 1 E. Toole Avenue HIVE Award, which is six months of free rent for three venture teams at the HIVE space. This award was only given to teams intending to launch in Tucson, Sias said. Fittid Sport, Grafted Growers, and Crowd Audio were given the award.

A new award this year, The People’s Choice, had attendees text in their vote of who they thought the best venture team was. Fittid Sport won the award, which included $400.

Entrepreneurship students chose the Best in Class award by picking three teams through a poll, Sias said. Crowd Audio won the $700 award.

The Best Use of Hearst Funds award was given to the venture team that used the grants it applied for the best. Grants were used to develop things like prototypes, websites, and research, according to Sias. Medovate Solutions won and was awarded $500.

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