ImpactNext: Changing the traditional business plan competition


April 24, 2013

Since 2001, Marquette’s Business Plan Competition spawned hundreds of business plans, and many entrants started successful enterprises. This year, the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship launched ImpactNext, an updated format designed to be more beneficial to entrepreneurs in any stage of their business model planning.

“We were excited to take this new direction,” said John Peterson, instructor of entrepreneurship who helped coordinate ImpactNext. “While there are plenty of great business plan competitions regionally and state wide, including the Governor’s Business Plan Competition, we chose to focus on the development of business models and – more specifically – the customer discovery and validation of those models. We believe that this approach better represents how successful businesses are being created today, and we responded to that.”

This year’s competition culminated with an event on Friday, April 12, 2013. Two dozen teams showcased their business models during a networking and poster session. Preliminary judging during that time determined one winner from each category:

  • Undergraduate students: Cold Breeze – An affordable alternative to traditional air conditioning that utilizes a frozen gel
  • Graduate students: Pre-Game Supply Company – An on-site tailgating food and supplies provider and delivery service
  • Alumni:  ThatSalsaLady – A social venture designed to help eliminate urban food deserts by providing a fresh, farm-to-table food delivery service
  • Faculty/Staff: StartIT – A service that puts graduate students and recent graduates to work providing IT consulting services to independent physicians’ offices to facilitate the move to electronic medical records
  • Community: Murket – An online service that provides students the ability to safely connect with each other in order to exchange goods on a college campus

The judges then determined the top five finalists (not necessarily category winners) who delivered one- to two-minute pitches to the judges and the audience. This year’s grand prize winner was ThatSalsaLady, led by alumna Angela Moragne; her team received $2,000.