BNVC 2019 winners hold their big checksMichigan State University’s Undergraduate Entrepreneurship & Innovation has wrapped up this year’s Burgess New Venture Challenge, a premier student entrepreneurial showcase representing a best-in-class experiential learning opportunity for students who are focused on innovation, business planning and taking proactive initiative.

The goal of this competition, according to the website, is to “empower the entrepreneurial mindset and create a lasting impact with our students as they transition to their careers in the global marketplace.”

This year, several students from the Eli Broad College of Business competed in the New Venture Challenge, with only the top 15 teams proceeding to the final round.

Third place was awarded to Demi Yang (B.A. Supply Chain ’19) and Niki Yang (B.A. Supply Chain ’19), members of Zonder, a mobile application that gamifies traveling and creates a unique travel profile for each user.

Demi Yang sits on the cement steps of a building and holds an ice cream sandwich

Demi Yang (BA Supply Chain ’19)

“In competing in this competition, I gained experience manning my own company booth, just like in career fairs and conferences. The attendees and judges I talked to gave me insight on what should be the next steps for my startup,” Demi said.

After submitting their professional business plan for their company, students were required to attend five workshops. These workshops focused on the companies’ business model and value proposition canvases, go-to-market pitch decks, financial modeling, business planning and legal aspects.

In addition to workshops, student applicants participated in a mentor meetup to develop relationships with experienced professionals.

Finalists participated in a trade show–format event. Each team had a display area for marketing material where students networked with the audience, including the judges, to share their vision and goals for their business ventures.

“The mannerism that I adopted through being a business student at the Broad College definitely helped me succeed in the BNVC,” Demi said.

“Before I started my business degree, I was still memorizing scripts word for word for presentations. In pitching, it’s essential to project what potential investors and customers care about, or else you’ll lose their interest. I could see my startup from their perspective and focus on the most important points in the few minutes I was given.”

Other teams advancing to the final round included:

  • Charlie Kolacki, a senior in finance, of Burgundy Labs, a software development company aimed at innovating the technology used on college campuses
  • Austen Malczewski, a junior in accounting, and Gavin Hubbard, a junior in finance, of Crown Mallard, which is solving the problem of disposable glove cross-contamination
  • Wesley Ma (B.A. Supply Chain Management ’18) of HealthOpX, which serves as a one-stop shop for people traveling internationally seeking health services