Are there any students out there with potential business ideas?
Well, the School of Management and Marketing, within the College of Business and Public Management, along with Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) held the 2017 Business Plan Competition. The competition set out to help students who are majoring in business, management and marketing by offering a chance to finance their ideas.
Students and guests lined up outside of the Little Theatre in Miron Student Center (MSC) at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 13, 2017 to sign in and get raffle tickets for potential prizes. The Business Plan Competition was a success filled with students and guests.
VE Finacial Transfers by Matthew Vona and Denis Ebby won second place in high school division
The competition particpants with Kean faculty (pictured from left to right): Pari Pandey, Yumeng Zhu, Yuhe Zhou, Wenhui Zhang, Sergey Krasheninnikov, Dr. Jeffery Toney, Bridget Parise, Osama Baig, Dr. Shanggeun Rhee, Alessandro Liquori, Matthew Vona, Dennis Ebby and Milton Perez.
The presentations were split into categories: high school, with two presentations; college, with five presentations; and Wenzhou Kean presentations. Presentations were shown from 9:30 a.m. through 11:30 a.m.
The organizing committee consisted of 11 influential persons at Kean University: Dr. Kai Wang, Dr. Janine Black, Dr. Gail Fraser, Dr. Amanda Han, Dr. Kihwan Kim, Dr. Eunji Lim, Mr. David Margulies, Dr. Shanggeun Rhee, Dr. Sut Sakchutchawan, Dr. Valarie Vaccaro and Mr. Jeff Victor.
The judges were made up of six successful persons:
Lonnie Allgood: founder and CEO of Dreams for Kids. Allgood has spent the better part of his life giving back to the community by sharing experiences that have made him successful and providing encouragement to children and young adults.
Mark Cheng: associate partner at Linium Consulting. Cheng has over 13 years of experience in management consulting within financial services. Cheng earned an MS in accounting from Kean University in 2005 and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Global Business School.
Dr. Michael R. Cooper: dean of Kean University's College of Business and Public Management. Cooper's background also includes being a successful entrepreneur as founder and chairman of Cooper Interests LLC.
Mark Strauss: marketing principal at SMARTMD Corporation. Strauss holds a degree in chemistry from Yale University and has extensive experience in marketing, e-commerce and analytics.
Dr. Qian (Joyce) Wang: tenured assistant professor of finance at Kean University. Wan is an expert in corporate finance, corporate governance, investments and emerging markets.
Jian (Jenny) Xie: senior financial reporting specialist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC). Xie graduated with an MS in Accounting from Kean in 2014 and earned her CPA license from New York in 2015.
The event started with opening remarks, "It is a great honor to have students who are interested in their development!" said Dr. Michael R. Cooper.
After introductions, high school students Matthew Vona, Denis Ebby and Pari Pandey showcased their business ideas.
VE Financial Transfers by Matthew Vona and Dennis Ebby is a company specializing in a new age financial transfer system.
"We provide much cheaper, faster, seamless and secure service than all other current mediums," said Ebby, who explained the efficiency of their product.
Sera Dhan by Pari Pandey is an organization focused on micro-financing starting businesses in impoverished countries.
"We rise by lifting others," Pandey used the Robert Ingersoll quote to emphasis her point.
Blow It Up by Sergey Krasheninnikov is a company that specializes in explosives training and recreational use of explosives.
"It can be used as a stress relief or just for entertainment," said Krasheninnikov.
Creative Pizza by Alessandro Liquori is a company focused on pizza with creative designs.
"I can make an impact on people's lives by making a pizza," explained Liquori.
EZ-Way by Bridget Parise and Osama Baig is a company that offers an easy solution for paying in drive-thru restaurants.
"The EZ-Way service can make a drive-thru experience an enjoyable and easier one," said Parise.
Settle Down by Yuhe Zhou, Yumeng Zhu and Wenhui Zhang is a company providing services to help international students settle in.
"Imagine coming into China as an international student. We want better assistance for international students," said Yuhe Zhou.
SwapTextbooks by Milton Perez is a company facilitating the exchange of textbooks among students.
"With tuition, fees and living expenses, buying textbooks is a significant cost," said Perez.
After the presentations the judges left to deliberate and tally the final scores, leaving the students and guests to vote for their favorite business plan at bit.ly/keanbpc.
Raffle tickets were also called for students to win fun prizes like bags, umbrellas, Kean t-shirts and the biggest prize, two $50 gift cards!
At 11:50 a.m. awards were handed out.
Participation awards went to the college division: SwapTextbooks with an award of $300, Fly Solo with an award of $1,000, Blow It Up with an award of $300 and Home-style Furniture by Shaojian Xu, Chen Wang and Xiaoyi Hu with an award of $300.
High school awards went to: Sera Dhan in first place with an award of $1,000 and VE Financial Transfers in second place with $500.
Grand Prizes went to: third place to Settle Down with $1,500, second place to Creative Pizza with $2,000 and first place to EZ-Way with $3,000.
"I thought it was interesting to see other peoples' ideas," said Rodolf Quinto, a junior studying business management. "EZ-Way was an entertaining presentation because it appeals to me more. As a college student I wake up early, so in the money going to Dunkin Donuts, with EZ-Way [it] would be helpful if I didn't have to take the bus. I saw a lot of creativity there and it opened my eyes to come up with ideas as well. The turnout was very good and the prizes were cool!"
After the event finished, Betty Levi, a junior studying psychology with a minor in business, had many thoughts while leaving the Little Theatre.
"This was my first time coming to these business competitions and it was really interesting to see all of the different plans that they had," said Levi. "My favorite business plan was actually Settle Down. I thought that it didn't apply to everyone and they could have been more mainstream but it was still good."
Audience members were inspired themselves to think of business ideas.
"If I were to do a business plan event I would build an app that helps people find their lost and found items," said Levi. "I was actually surprised how many people showed up!"
If students did not get the opportunity to attend this year's event or participate they can email bizplan.edu for more information on the 2018 Business Plan Competition!