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Local students compete in UW biz competition

Dec 8, 2016 From wire reports

Two students from Fremont County have are among the 10 finalists for the chance to earn funds for their startup business plans in the annual John P. Ellbogen $30K Entrepreneurship Competition at the University of Wyoming.

The competition had a record-breaking 76 student-led teams, the most entrants in the program's 15-year history, and those teams represent each college within the UW campus. The finalists are now working with mentors through the final pitch competition that will take place during a large-scale entrepreneurship conference April 20 at the College of Business, the competition's sponsor.

John Lee, an energy management master's student from Dubois, joined Greyson Buckingham from Jackson to develop Value Energy Forum, a business plan seeks to deliver greater efficiencies in the oil and gas supply chain. The plan is to create an e-marketplace where operators submit request for proposals online and, then, power generation companies, in turn, submit bids. As a result, this open forum will transform the information provided from relevant stakeholders into a valuable asset and a currency for business.

Calendar Connect, also a company headed by Buckingham and Lee, seeks to maximize network "connectability" through an app that leverages location data and syncs with the calendar app on IOS devices to allow for networking and connections between contacts. The app will take user data inputted into the calendar app and sync through blockchain technology to connect peers when they enter the same area.

Dallin Cooper, a business management major from Riverton, and Madison Cooley, a dual art and computer science major from Cheyenne, are competing with Atmosphere Marketing, a company that provides a wide variety of digital marketing services to all sizes of businesses, providing websites that fit within any budget. For businesses with low budgets, the company provides customization of premade template-based sites. For higher budget projects, all websites are custom-made, and can be fitted with extensive functionalities to fit various industries.

Known as the UW $10K Competition until 2011, the John P. Ellbogen $30K Entrepreneurship Competition encourages students to act on their talents, ideas and energy to produce tomorrow's leading businesses. The competition awards cash prizes to outstanding teams of student entrepreneurs who submit their business plans for new ventures that show significant business potential.

The business competition is open to UW undergraduates and graduate students in all disciplines.

The first-place business proposal will win $15,000, with half awarded after the competition and the balance given after submitting a satisfactory progress report. Second-prize funds are $7,500, and third place will receive $5,000. Second- and third-place winners will receive half their prize winnings after the competition and the remaining after submitting progress reports. Additional prizes will be given following the final competition.

"That event will be open to all students, faculty, staff and community members who are interested in hearing the student pitches as well as listening to a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship," said Steve Russell, College of Business marketing and external relations director.

He says the competition has grown, especially the last three years.

"The last three years, we have taken the competition from having 14 applicants to having 47 last year, to 76 this year," he said.

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