A student from Clay Center was on the winning team, while a student from Assaria also fared well in a competition at Fort Hays State University.
A team of four Fort Hays State University students won the $6,000, first-place Faulkner Challenge business plan prize at the university last weekend.
The competition is hosted by the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship in the W.R. and Yvonne Robbins College of Business and Entrepreneurship.
The first-place team, SafeDrop, created a business plan for a gunshot detection software application. The four members are Pablo Garcia, Lakin graduate student majoring in professional studies (human resource management); Hayden Hutchison, Hays senior majoring in management; Haley Jones, Clay Center junior majoring in psychology; and Adam Schibi, Hays senior majoring in accounting.
The software application they are working on is designed to detect gunshots, notify law enforcement and warn users of the app who are in the vicinity of an active shooter.
“I had a tremendous learning experience at this year’s Faulkner Challenge,” said Hutchison. “Our team collaborated on refining our project, and we spent hours together practicing and working hard. I’ve grown in the areas of research, writing, speaking, collaboration and understanding the fundamentals of launching a product or service.”
The second place award of $3,000 went to Wright Enterprises, LLC. Dennis and Donna Wright, farmers from Bird City, have started their own line of sunflower oil products.
“I feel like the Faulkner Challenge was an excellent experience, giving us great feedback from experienced entrepreneurs. It was the perfect opportunity to reevaluate our company and gave us new direction on where we would like to go,” said Dennis Wright.
Kalliope, LLC , a cosmetic company started by Kristin Blomquist, Assaria, won third place and $1,000. Blomquist’s company sells high-quality lotions, soaps and other skincare products.
“I enjoyed meeting the other competitors and having a chance to share my business,” said Blomquist. “It is helpful to participate in these types of events as they require you to sharpen your thinking and refine your plans. It was a good day!”
“The Faulkner Challenge business plan competition, reorganized this year, is the largest event of its kind in Northwest Kansas,” said Dr. David Snow, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.
The Challenge was developed to seek new, independently proposed ventures in the conceptual, seed or startup stages. The event is made possible by the generosity of Kevin Faulkner, an FHSU alumnus.
Teams of high school students, college students and community members submitted written plans for a chance to compete for a share of the $10,000 in prize money. Twenty-seven business plans from a total of 47 participants were received. The eight most comprehensive plans were chosen as finalists to attend the event on campus.
Finalist teams delivered 10-minute oral presentations before a panel of judges.
“For the first time hosting this event with the enhanced format, it was impressive to see the level of interest in entrepreneurship in the region and the variety of ideas from the competitors,” said Snow.