TU's Best Year Ever in Governor's Cup!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Three student teams from The University of Tulsa's Collins College of Business won top spots in April in the 2012 Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup collegiate business plan competition. The TU graduate teams placed first and second in the graduate division, while the undergraduate team took third.

Approximately 50 teams from universities and colleges entered the competition. Students from TU perform consistently well in the competition, but this is the first time that all three of TU's teams have placed.

"Our business students continue to prove they are top players in the Governor's Cup," said Gale Sullenberger, dean of the Collins College of Business. "This is outstanding work and these students, under the guidance of Professor Claire Cornell, should be congratulated."

The top three teams in each division were revealed at an Awards Dinner before an audience of approximately 500 people at the Bricktown Events Center. Gov. Mary Fallin was the keynote speaker.

"It was exciting to see the TU teams do so well in the competition. This year we had an exceptional group of students participating in the competition," said Cornell Claire Cornell, assistant director of TU's International Business and Entrepreneurship Institute. "In addition, the teams were very passionate about their business ventures. That is always a winning combination. The Governor’s Cup business plan competition introduces students to a valuable skill set they can use for a lifetime. They learn to evaluate opportunities and develop a plan for execution. I am always excited to learn from my previous students how they are utilizing these skills in their chosen careers."

SpectrumFX team with their awardThe winning graduate team "SpectrumFX" consists of Amethyst Cavallero, Jessica Casper, John Galbraith and Kathryn Junk. The team won $20,000 and advances to compete for $90,000 against teams from Arkansas and Nevada in the Tri-State Competition in May in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 22.

"It's an amazing and exhilarating experience," said Cavallero. "Because of TU's connections with the business community and such incredible alumni support, we've really been able to leverage the TU network in our business plan."

SpectrumFX is licensed to sell Firebane, a fire suppression liquid that extinguishes all spectrums of fires, to the aviation industry. The nontoxic, biodegradable formula will be used in aircraft cargo compartments to protect against cargo fires that can cause loss of aircraft, crew and cargo.

SpectrumFX also WON $5,000 as the winner of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable Material Sciences and Transportation category in the Interview portion of the competition. The Interview was introduced as a new element in this year’s competition in which teams sat down for one-on-one interviews with experts in one of five industry categories.

PsychSavvy team with their awardThe winner of the second place graduate division, also a TU team, won $10,000 and will also advance to the competition in Las Vegas. Students Robyn Undieme, Kathryn Packell and Cary Taylor were team "PsychSavvy," which provides a customizable, online mental health resource formatted with short video clips and educational articles that serve as a Web-based information source for mental health professionals, college educators, students and clients.

SoLoKnow team with their awardThe undergraduate team "SoLoKnow" consisted of Ahmed El-Kishky, Phoebe Hardwicke, Eric Kuxhausen and Jack Lestina. John Hale served as the advisor. The team won $5,000 for placing third in the undergraduate division for a plan to create online social communities for universities that provide clearly defined audiences and essential Web-based education and networking services. The company aims to develop a large user base while attracting partnerships with universities.

Also recognized at the dinner were students who have been selected as i2E Fellows for 2012. Selected as an i2E Fellow was Ekaterina Shernstneva, MBA student at the University of Tulsa, DermaMedics.

More than 1,000 students from more than 26 Oklahoma campuses have participated in the first eight years of the Governor’s Cup competition, writing business plans around 60 innovative ideas and competing for more than $1.2 million in cash awards, scholarships and fellowships.

“This competition grows and improves each year,” said Tom Walker, President and CEO of i2E. “The students who write and pitch the business plans and their advisors continually raise the bar in terms of the quality of their work and the business opportunities they present.”

i2E receives funding from a variety of federal, state and private sources, including the federal Economic Development Administration, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the City of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the Presbyterian Health Foundation and the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.

For more information, contact Governor’s Cup visit www.okgovernors.cup.com

Tom Droege