How Taco Bell Is Becoming the World’s Most Innovative Franchise

“Taco Bell, the Mexican-inspired fast-food chain, is quickly adapting for a new era of food culture. As trends shift in the ever-changing food market, Taco Bell has developed several innovative new services to maintain dominance in the quick-service space. Facing pressure from competing brands, the company has announced new restaurant concepts, convenient food delivery services and a unified digital experience to draw in consumers who are eager for grab-and-go convenience. Starting in 2004, Taco Bell struggled to compete with competitors, including similarly themed restaurants like Chipotle or Del Taco, as seen in how the chain suffered financial and public relations failures in the attempt to establish locations in Mexico and Dubai. Despite this, the chain saw same-store sales growth of 6% in the fourth quarter of 2019, likely related to the expansion of restaurant technology and innovative services.”

Taco Bell CEO is UW-Green Bay alumnus Mark King ’81 (Business Administration).

Source: How Taco Bell Is Becoming the World’s Most Innovative Franchise

Pitch contest helps former refugee sharpen idea for Hmong-inspired fashion line

A love for the Hmong culture led to a business idea and people’s choice award for Ka Vang, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Vang, who entered the Fall 2020 UWGB Student Business Idea Virtual Pitch Contest, created a business model for Ntxhais Hmoob, a modern Hmong-inspired fashion line for everyday wear. The 2008 Green Bay West High School graduate and current Appleton resident was born in a refugee camp in Thailand.

“It was a difficult situation; just like many other Hmong families suffered,” Vang said. “My family moved to the United States in 1994 and we initially migrated to California before moving to Wisconsin several years later.”

Source: Pitch contest helps former refugee sharpen idea for Hmong-inspired fashion line

Drones for Safer Insurance Field Inspections Wins Fall 2020 UWGB Student Business Idea Virtual Pitch Contest

Seventeen UW-Green Bay student entries competed in the Fall 2020 UWGB Student Business Idea Virtual Pitch Contest. Four cash prizes totaling $1,000 were furnished by Dental City’s Competitive Spark Endowment. The contest also served as a preliminary round for the 2021 Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament (WBIT, or

Students submitted 90-second pitch videos to an online platform where judges, many of whom are alumni and recruiters, evaluated the ideas for new businesses, new products, new nonprofits, and new community projects. The results are First prize of $500 was earned by Kody Klumb (Business Administration) whose idea, Klumbus InsurTech, applies the efficiencies and the safety of drone technology for use by Property and Casualty insurance agents conducting field inspections. Second prize of $300 went to Boa Moua (Business Administration) whose product C.H.A.M.S.T.R. is a shippable, modifiable, stimulating Custom Hamster Activity Maze for hamsters or other small pets. Third prize of $100 went to Apoorva Gurtu (Environmental Science & Policy) who developed the idea The Green Bay Senior Bridge Program. Gurtu’s idea bridges the intergenerational gap, thus decreasing loneliness and social isolation within aging communities, by helping them interaction much more easily with the outside community. Gurtu first introduced this idea in the 2020 Innovation in Aging competition. The Peoples Choice Award of $100 went to Ka Vang (Business Administration) for her idea Ntxhais Hmoob, a modern Hmong-inspired fashion line for everyday wear.

UWGB grad fulfills lifelong dream of launching clothing line despite obstacles

A recent UW-Green Bay graduate (and Commencement Speaker) is putting her own spin on athleisure clothing. Jada Davis (’20 Communication) is the owner of Modern Movement Apparel, a clothing line that prides itself on being dedicated to helping movers of different shapes, sizes and hues become comfortable with moving freely.

Source: UWGB grad fulfills lifelong dream of launching clothing line despite obstacles – wearegreenbay

Wisconsin Student-Run Businesses featured as part of Startup WI Week

The Student-Run Business Association brings you an opportunity on Nov. 12, 2020 from 3 to 4 p.m. to learn how college students in Wisconsin are gaining access to unique, experiential learning through their university’s student-run business programs. Student-run businesses (SRBs) shape the future of higher education and positively impact society by preparing the next generation of experientially practiced leaders. Wisconsin is home to three universities with full-fledged student-run business programs: Marquette University, Lakeland University,UW-Green Bay (opening in 2021). Learn how these three SRBs operate, innovate, prosper, and are part of a collaborative network at the cutting edge of education.

Register here.

Sheboygan Campus alumnus and son featured in story about grief camp and grand ideas

Dorothy McElroy, is an alumnus from the Sheboygan Campus. She and her son Wyatt were recently featured talking about their annual event, Worldwide Dragon Shooting Day. The idea for the event, which now draws participants from across the world, started at UW-Green Bay’s Camp Lloyd, a camp for grieving kids. After the passing of her husband and Wyatt’s father, Dennis, she sent Wyatt to camp. Counselors encouraged him to dream big. And he has.

Dorothy recently launched a related nonprofit and is working on a project with that nonprofit in Sheboygan County. She was also the winner of the Sheboygan Campus’ Student Business Idea contest. Mother and son are also TEDx speakers.



UW-Green Bay alumna makes semifinals at Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs

While COVID-19 halted the Draper Competition for a few months until a virtual competition could be held, it didn’t stop UWGB’s Marissa Dyess ’20 (Business Administration) from being a semifinalist in the Draper Competition’s product track. The annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs is a prestigious invitation-only pitch and mentoring event for women entrepreneurs. Dyess was the second UWGB student to have been invited after trailblazer Jennifer Nowicki ’19 pitched her Cultivate Taste business at Draper in 2019. Nowicki is also a gBETA Northeast Wisconsin alumna and winner of both the Two Rivers and Sheboygan Pop Up Shop contests. Dyess pitched Hempire, her startup that provides Hempire Style-branded herbal remedies which aid those who suffer from eczema and psoriasis. Hempire Style clientele customize their own hemp-based body butters, lotions, and bathbombs from various aromatherapy scents and add ins. Find more on her Facebook page or email her at Dyess was to compete in the Draper Competition on site at Smith College in Massachusetts in spring, her last semester of undergraduate work at UWGB. While she graduated in May, all those who qualified for the student competition were still able to compete after graduating.

Maria Arunkumar

WiSys recognizes UW-Green Bay student’s innovation

Press Release via WiSys, Monday August 3

Maria Arunkumar’s presentation for Build-a-Wedding, a business idea to help couples with the stressful aspects of planning a wedding, took second place in WiSys’ Student Research & Innovation Showcase in late July.

The event—part of the WiSys SPARK Symposium Virtual Series—gave University of Wisconsin System students a chance to share their work with the statewide community, improve their presentation skills and compete for cash prizes. Arunkumar will receive a $500 cash prize, courtesy of event sponsor Boyle Fredrickson.

“Build-a-Wedding cuts through all the noise in the internet and guides you through a comprehensive set of questions to determine exactly what you need. It feeds your answers into an algorithm which provides you with a personalized set of options for vendors that meets all your requirements,” according to Arunkumar.

Arunkumar’s faculty advisor is Ryan Kauth, a lecturer of entrepreneurship for the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business at UW-Green Bay.

 Normally, the showcase would be held at WiSys’ popular summer in-person symposium which honors research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the UW System. This year, WiSys is holding many of the symposium’s sessions virtually.

“Congratulations to all the participants for their research as well as their ability to adapt to this new virtual format,” said WiSys President Arjun Sanga. “UW regional comprehensive institutions are known for excellence in undergraduate research and innovation the winners represent the best and brightest Wisconsin has to offer.”

 WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the UW System to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.








Applications are open for Children’s Business Fair, Sept. 19

The third annual Children’s Business Fair is a free, virtual event on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and it is now open for applications! This annual business fair is an opportunity to empower children by encouraging them to launch their very own business. The learning leading up to the final event presents a fun, interactive, and challenging opportunity to keep children reading, researching, thinking, writing, computing, and creating for the rest of the summer. Children will learn by the power of using mistakes for growth and be engaged through real-world, hands on experiences, discovering their passions. Each kid-preneur will develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers at a one-day marketplace and online venue. An authentic pitch opportunity will be held at the 1 Million Cups monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 12, from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. at Urban Hub in downtown Green Bay. The annual Children’s Business Fair and 1 Million Cups Green Bay are sponsored by the UW-Green Bay’s Cofrin School of Business.

Spread the word, WiSys is looking for student innovators

MADISON—WiSys invites UW System student researchers and innovators to present their research and innovations during a live virtual broadcast on July 22 at 4 p.m. Students from all academic disciplines can share their work, compete for cash prizes and engage in an interactive networking component led by UW campus leadership.

Prizes include:

  • First place: $750
  • Second place: $500
  • Third place: $250

Other prizes may also be awarded.

The deadline for registration is July 13. Space is limited. Presenters will be notified of acceptance by July 15.

Through the virtual event, students can gain visibility for their work, network with like-minded peers from across the state, and round out their resume–adding the event to their list of presentation experiences. The

The virtual “Student Research & Innovation Showcase,” sponsored by Boyle Fredrickson, replaces a similar in-person event that usually takes place at WiSys’ annual summer symposium. That event, the WiSys SPARK Symposium, was cancelled due to the coronavirus.

For more information on the event or to register to present, visit

WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the UW System to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.