Startup Drury competition

Winners named in annual Startup Drury business plan competition

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 7, 2014 — Following weeks of hard work, the winners of the “Startup Drury” competition were recently chosen. The competition is sponsored by Drury’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and is open to students of all majors who think they may have “the next big idea.”

Ten teams made live pitches before the judges in April, following five weeks of working together to form an idea for a business and create a business plan. Teams could have one or more members and each team was assigned a mentor from the community. The mentors met with their teams in person or electronically throughout the process.

The winners were:

Overall winner  – Teleigh Martinez, for “Elektro Sustainable Dance Club;” $1,000 prize

Runner-up – Ali Barnes, Isaac Weber, Grant Brallier and Josh Avers, for “Yoga U;” $500 prize

Honorable mention – Melissa Buckner and Jake Jobes, for “Audio Vortex;” $250 prize

Broadest Appeal – Audio Vortex. This project will have the opportunity to raise capital via CrowdIt, the Springfield-based crowd funding website.

Best Green Business Model – Elektro Sustainable Dance Club

Best Social Business Model – Cody Stepp, Dakoda Trithara, Albeejohn Hummel and Rudy Daus for “EcoFin.” This project will represent Drury in the Barrentine Value and Ventures Business Plan Competition at Texas Christian University in 2015.

Judges for the competition were Rob Wheeler, owner of Marbeck Appliance Parts; Christine Daues, owner of Granolove; Jason Graf, founder of CrowdIt; Kailey York, partner at Clayton, York & Hopp, CPAs; and retired entrepreneur Leon Combs.

The presenting sponsor was Marbeck Appliance Parts. CrowdIt, Engineered Packaging and Chuck Banta were supporting sponsors.

Team mentors included Steve Nurnberg, Chris Jarratt, Chuck Banta, Hallie Sale, Terri Thornton, Brad Moulder, Lyle Foster, Loa Freeman, Jim Conley, Paula Adams, Terry Reynolds, Brenda Jackson, Sara Cochran and Katie Henderson

For more information, contact: Dr. Kelley Still, Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, (417) 873-7458 or


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
  • 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. 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.