Kutztowna University students won a business plan competition

Kutztown University students Shantal Ewell and Kevin Smyth won first place at $ 10,000 in the annual State System Startup Challenge, sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Higher Education System. Ewell, an MBA student, and Smyth, a master’s student in student affairs, have created a business plan for the Schedula Degree Planner, an online platform that would redefine the way college students and counselors interact.

The Schedula Degree Planner creates a personalized curriculum so that students can avoid unnecessary courses they have to complete in four years or less, while improving the effectiveness of counselors and university graduation rates.

“Our universities in the state system are more connected to the business community than ever before, and these students are a great example of the innovations that take place in universities,” said Cynthia D. Shapira, President of the State Council. “State System alumni are helping to support Pennsylvania’s economy, and competitions like this are allowing the next generation of business leaders to get started. I congratulate the Kutztown University team on their victory and thank each student from across the system who competed this year. ”

The three student teams participated in the finals of the State System Startup Challenge, which gives students the opportunity to present their plans to a jury of company leaders to have a chance to win funds to support the start-up or growth of their business. The three finalists were selected from 60 competitors across the System.

Luke Melcher, George D’Angelo, Joseph Donatucci and Connor Egan, seniors in Mechatronic Engineering at the University of California, Pennsylvania, won second place, a $ 6,000 prize, in a competition with the Vispec security system business plan. This business would revolutionize the market for personal electric vehicles with added safety features for riders on electric skateboards, scooters, bicycles and other single-rider modes of transport. The system monitors dangerous road conditions, including blind spots and potential collisions, to warn the driver of danger.

The team, led by Erin Burney, a senior in business management at the University of Shippensburg, won third place, a $ 3,000 award in the business plan for IRE Productions, a prop company that primarily serves cosplayers with quality and affordable pieces. Customers can choose from exclusive weapon designs, armor and other accessories to complete the cosplay set, or they can enjoy the experience of providing their own design and let the company bring the item to life.

“This business plan competition gives State System students the opportunity to realize their dreams here in Pennsylvania,” said State Chancellor Daniel Greenstein. “These students remind us of the value of public higher education in strengthening Pennsylvania’s economy as they transform classroom learning into real-world experience. I thank the students, faculty and universities for making it possible. “

The judges were Laura B. Haffner, president of the regional bank, senior vice president of the Greater Pennsylvania region for Wells Fargo; Matt Lutcavage, Vice President, Team Experience and Chief Human Resources Officer, The Giant Company; Mary Oliveira, director of membership in the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Nandish Patel, an entrepreneur.

The sponsors were East Stroudsburg University, Marathon Studios, Northwest Pennsylvania Innovation Beehive Network, Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Foundation, Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) and PSECU.

A preliminary round of mentoring and evaluation was provided by the Ben Franklin Technology Partner Network, the Pennsylvania Center for Small Business Development, and the Pennsylvania State Board for Starting Higher Education.

This is the first finale broadcast on PCN. Last year, after eight years, the event was renamed the State System Startup Challenge as the State System Business Plan Competition.

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