Student-led teams from UNLV took top honors in both the graduate and undergraduate categories at this week's Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition held in Reno, Nev. April 20.
The winning teams advance to the Tri-State Reynolds Cup competition May 25 - 26 in Las Vegas, where they will compete with top student teams from Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Scuba Solutions, a team of UNLV business and engineering graduate students, won first place and $20,000 in the graduate division category. They developed the Tank Tote, a handcart that helps divers transport scuba tanks - which can weigh close to 40 pounds - over rough terrain or loose rocks.
UNLV undergrads also took first place - and $20,000 - for their business plan Eighteen At Eighteen. The concept consists of short digital books, accessible on smartphones, to help 18-year-olds plan their life and career.
"UNLV's wins at the Governor's Cup validate our belief that great things happen when you get people from diverse backgrounds out of their comfort zones, get them working together, and prepare them to compete," said Paul Jarley, dean of the UNLV College of Business. "The same entrepreneurial perspective, integration of business and engineering knowledge, and professional self-confidence our UNLV students exhibited at the Governor's Cup will make them winners in the marketplace. I look forward to seeing these projects become viable businesses."
Scuba Solutions is the product of a relatively new partnership between UNLV MBA program students and engineering undergraduates. Engineering students, as part of a bi-annual senior class competition, design and create inventions with commercial potential that solve everyday engineering challenges. Last year, students in UNLV's Master of Business Administration program began teaming with engineering undergraduate students to develop business plans for the projects.
Scuba Solutions was among the first examples of this partnership, and in less than a year formed an LLC. Earlier this year, the team took top prize at the Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition, which brought $50,000 and business services for the most innovative business plan to help spur economic growth in the Southern Nevada region.
Griffin Owings, team captain for Scuba Solutions, said the Governor's Cup win will help the company build a second prototype that he hopes will lead to even more business expansion.
"We're excited about being a part of UNLV and being a company in Las Vegas because it's a great place to open a business," said Owings. "As our company expands, we hope to employ the talented graduates from UNLV."
UNLV's Rebel Technology Associates placed second in the graduate category winning $10,000 for its MAD device -- a Motorcycle Accident Detection and Notification System. This system uses GPS tracking, a built-in accelerometer, and mobile communications to send a detailed message to first responders when a motorcyclist is involved in an accident. Its goal is to improve accident survival rates.
The Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup is the only statewide collegiate business plan competition that encourages students from Nevada's universities and colleges to consider entrepreneurship as a career option and gives students real-world experience in developing business plans. For more information, please visit www.ncet.org/.
UNLV Governor's Cup Winners
First Place - Graduate Category: Scuba Solutions, UNLV
- Griffin Owings
- Chris Powell
- Alex Strabala
- Curtis Weinstein
- Sean Daly
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Hardin
Second Place - Graduate Category: UNLV's Rebel Technology Associates
- Adam Jackson
- Jerome Mandel
- Nicoleta Cornea
- Shehan Peries
- Yrene Ordaz
- Gerson Recinos
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Hardin
First Place - Undergraduate category: Eighteen at Eighteen, UNLV
- Anthony Alegrete
- William Wong
- Nathan Turner
- Claudia Perez
- Matt Petterson
- Jami Vallesteros
Faculty Advisor: Janet Runge