UNLV Undergraduates Take Top Spots in Nevada Governor's Cup Contest

Two UNLV undergraduate student groups awarded $35,000 to help develop business plans

Two UNLV student teams took top prizes and collected $35,000 in prize money last night in the Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition, a statewide contest designed to encourage students to use their ideas and talents to create tomorrow's businesses.

UNLV students fared well in the undergraduate category, taking two of the top three spots. Students in the competition gained access to networks of successful entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders from around the state.

"The competition serves as an outcome for students learning skills on how to be successful entrepreneurs," said Andrew Hardin, director of UNLV's Center for Entrepreneurship. "Producing entrepreneurs that are willing and able to build new job creating businesses is critical for diversifying Nevada's economy. We are moving entrepreneurship at UNLV toward a level of excellence seen only at top universities in the world."

First and second place teams from the graduate and undergraduate categories will advance to the Tri-State Reynolds Cup competition in May, where they will compete with teams from Oklahoma and Arkansas for cash awards of more than $100,000.

Solution Bar took first place in the undergraduate category, winning $25,000 for its business plan surrounding a science-themed specialty bar that offers unique and molecular mixology beverages. At the solution bar, specialty cocktails and drinks will be served in test tubes and beakers. The team will use modern science and techniques to take liquid alcohol and reshape it into solid edible structures, such as an entire cocktail infused into a cucumber or a margarita made into edible balls that customers would eat like caviar. The target audience is millennials who live in southwest Las Vegas. The team includes Ari Weinryt and Diana Duangnet Fisher. The team is advised by Clark Kincaid, a professor in the College of Hotel Administration.

Gymnerate received third place in the undergraduate category and a $10,000 prize. Gymnerate is an energy brokerage company designed to extract energy from gym machines while in use and send it back to the grid. In doing so, gyms will save energy costs and earn renewable energy credits for their business and for Gymnerate. Every 1,000 kilowatts of energy produced can be sold for $500. Team members include UNLV students Taylor Hall and Sarah Tom. The team is advised by Janet Runge, enrichment coordinator at the Lee Business School.

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 and a full list of winners, please visit Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.

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