Members of High Five Studios celebrate winning the $50,000 prize in the Edward K. Aldag Jr. Business Plan Competition.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Students representing majors from across The University of Alabama campus pitched their business plans to judges in the Edward K. Aldag, Jr. Business Plan Competition Tuesday, March 27.
Started in 2014 by Edward K. Aldag Jr., CEO and chairman of Medical Properties Trust Inc., the competition fosters entrepreneurship by allowing UA students to turn their business plans into reality through a day-long series of pitch presentations to panels of judges.
The event took place at the Bryant Conference Center on the UA campus.
The top ten teams competed for the grand prize of $50,000, a space to start their business in The EDGE, a Tuscaloosa-area business incubator and co-working space, and invaluable mentoring from local entrepreneurs.
Additionally, the first-, second- and third-place winners received cash prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, along with a place at The EDGE.
The Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, which is an outreach center in UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce, hosted the competition.
“We were extraordinarily pleased by the high caliber of the business ideas brought to this year’s competition,” said Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne, executive director of the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute and the Will and Maggie Brook Professor of Entrepreneurship in UA’s business school. “The UA campus is a hotbed of innovation, to be sure, and the business pitches reflected that.”
2018 Edward K. Aldag, Jr. Business Plan Competition Winners
Grand Prize Winner
High Five Studios, LLC: Alex Haisting, audio design, engineering, and composition major, from Haleyville; Robert Petit, interdisciplinary studies major, from Columbia, South Carolina; Joshua Mokwa, management major, from Brookfield, Wisconsin; Cody Fletcher, computer science major, from Tuscaloosa; Rachel Christ, interdisciplinary studies major, from Louisville, Kentucky
Locality : Bryant Mathis, mechanical engineering major, from Calhoun, Georgia; Alex Tidwell, math major, from Lynn Haven, Florida; Lily Prater, creative media major, from Calhoun, Georgia
Trips4Trade: Slade Johnston, MBA major, from Butler
Accu Suture: Erik Hanson, management major, from Woodstock, Georgia; Trey Robbins, mechanical engineering major, from Ocala Florida
City of Tuscaloosa and Community Affairs Competition Winners
Additionally, this year’s competition was the first year to partner with UA’s Division of Community Affairs and the City of Tuscaloosa for additional awards.
“We are excited about the ways the business plan competition expanded this year,” Welbourne said. “We had new awards, including one funded by the City of Tuscaloosa, and a second sponsored by Community Affairs at the University. These additional awards help all of us build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in our region.”
“We are very proud of all the team members who pitched their business ideas; it’s exciting to see so much innovation and enthusiasm about starting and growing businesses,” she said. “As we move into the new EDGE building later this year, many of the competitors will come along with us, providing new opportunities to learn from each other.”
City of Tuscaloosa Grand Prize Winner
Collegiate Baseball Scouting Network: Justin Volman, sports management / New College major, from Monroe, Connecticut
Community Affairs First Place
The Artemis Company: Lauren Gwin, mechanical engineering major, from Shalimar, Florida
Community Affairs Second Place
Woof!: Knox Auerbach, accelerated master’s program-marketing analytics, from Atlanta, Georgia
Community Affairs Third Place
High Five Studios, LLC: Alex Haisting, Audio Design, Engineering, and Composition Major from Haleyville, Alabama; Robert Petit, Interdisciplinary Studies major from Columbia, South Carolina; Joshua Mokwa, Management major from Brookfield, Wisconsin; Cody Fletcher, Computer Science Major from Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Rachel Christ, Interdisciplinary Studies major from Louisville, Kentucky