Winners crowned in Startup Drury competition

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 24, 2013 — Weeks of hard work finally came down to competition day for teams of Drury students working on “the next great idea.” The overall winner of the Startup Drury competition was Parker LiaBraaten with his company idea WaterWatch. LiaBraaten was crowned the winner on Thursday, April 4.

LiaBraaten is a sophomore and received the Curt Strube Cup, named for the late Director of the Breech School of Business Administration. His business idea also won Broadest Appeal, allowing him the opportunity to raise capital on CrowdIt, a new crowd-funding platform. In addition, LiaBraaten earned $1,000 and now has the opportunity to attend the College Entrepreneurship Organization’s National Conference and compete in the Elevator Pitch competition. “This is a venture that I actually want to pursue and bring to the market,” said LiaBraaten. “I have put a lot of hard work into this and I’m excited for my next big break.”

First Runner-up and winner of $500 was Corey Wiley and his idea of the Wiley House. Honorable Mention and $250 went to Jeremiah George, Elena Ferris, Kevin Daroga, and Dakota Trithara with their start up idea, Little Momma’s. The plan with the best chance of high growth was IVision, developed by Blake Worland, Kyle Kiely and Brett Stiffler. This group will now have the chance to present their idea to the Springfield Angel Network.

This was the first Startup Drury competition and students of all majors were able to participate. “What is so great about university-wide business model competitions is that we get students with all kinds of majors involved – it pushed entrepreneurship beyond the business school,” said Dr. Kelley Still, executive director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship. “The level of engagement and quality of ideas truly exceeded my expectations and it was a very exciting competition.”

Judges for the competition were:

  • Leon Combs, retired entrepreneur
  • Jason T. Graf, founder, CrowdIt, LLC
  • Brenda Ryan, founder, Alliance Technologies and Ryan Industries, Inc
  • Rob Wheeler, owner MarBeck.com
  • Kailey York, partner, Clayton, York and Hopp, CPAs

Drury University’s Edwrad Jones Center for Entrepreneurship would like to thank judges, sponsors and team mentors for assisting with the Startup competition. Over 20 professionals from the community mentored teams in the competition. MarBeck.com was the presenting sponsor. Engineered Packaging, Chuck Banta and CrowdIt were supporting sponsors.

Drury University’s Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization, the C-Street Business Resource Center, and the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship all co-hosted Startup Drury.

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