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.org/spark.

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.

UW-Green Bay student pitches for talent at TechConnect

UW-Green Bay student Maria Arunkumar (Business Administration) was one of four startup founders who recently pitched at the Greater Green Bay Chamber’s TechConnect event. But, she wasn’t pitching for cash or investor meetings. She was pitching for talent to help her work on her startup, Build-a-Wedding. The second TechConnect connected startup founders with developers and designers in a reverse pitch format. Founders pitched on Zoom their “ask” in eight minutes from a technical perspective, so they asked for a co-founder, a strategic advisor, or an employee, for example. Then, the audience had five minutes for Q&A. At the end of the event, a post-event survey helped attendees select the companies that they’d like to meet and be introduced to for potential collaboration. The event was hosted by the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, partnering with Digital Fertilizer and the Big Data, Advanced Analytics, and Machine Learning (“BAM”) Meetups.

Minocqua student who is headed to UW-Green Bay wins 2020 Wisconsin YES! youth business plan contest

Ayla Mollen, a graduating senior at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua who will attend UW-Green Bay in the fall, is the first-place winner in Wisconsin YES!, a statewide youth business plan contest for students in middle and high school.

Ayla’s company, Seninaturals, is dog treat line that provides neurological health benefits to dogs. She is an aspiring veterinarian who has worked in kennels and clinics, is a National Honors Society student and has taken part in the UW-Madison’s Information Technology Academy for three years.

A recorded presentation of Ayla’s business plan was shared at the June 4 virtual Entrepreneurs’ Conference during the awards portion of the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Students submitted their ideas in a 250-word online summary to compete in Phase 1 of the contest. Professionals from across the state served as judges, provided feedback and scored the ideas. Nearly 20 entries were selected to move on to Phase 2, where they submitted 1,000-word executive summaries covering company overview; product or service description; customer definition; market description, size and sales strategy; competition; management team; financials; and capital needs.

All 10 UW-Green Bay Collegiate DECA competitors qualify for international competition

All ten UW-Green Bay Collegiate DECA students who competed at the 2020 Midwest Case Study Competition qualified for the International Career Development Conference.

To qualify, teams and individuals had to place in the top of their competition category. College students from nearly twenty Wisconsin and Iowa Collegiate DECA chapters competed at the Midwest Conference, and no other university had all members qualify for international competition. The team of Olivia Ryan (Communications) and Carli Shamion (Business Administration) and the team of Matt Gruetzmacher (Business Administration) and Maxwell Meyer (Business Administration) both competed in the team Business Ethics case study competition category and qualified for internationals. Both teams also medaled for their top performances in the category.

The team of Michael Ninham (Business Administration) and Matthew Schellinger (Business Administration) competed in the team Sports and Entertainment Marketing case study competition category and qualified for internationals. The pair also medaled for their top performance in the category. The team of Connor Hamann (Business Administration) and Nathan Post (Business Administration) competed in the Marketing Communications case study category and qualified for internationals. The team previously medaled in the category at the Fall 2019 Wisconsin Case Study Challenge and Leadership Conference in November.

Kody Kohnke (Business Administration) competed individually in the Entrepreneurship Operations case study competition category and qualified for internationals. Kohnke also medaled due to his top performance in the category. Nick Blasczyk (Business Administration) competed individually in the prepared presentation category of Entrepreneurship: Starting a Business in which he had to pitch his start up. Blasczyk qualified for internationals and medaled in the category due to his top performance.

The International Conference that each student qualified for was cancelled due to COVID-19. Collegiate DECA is open to all UWGB students who aspire to careers in hospitality and tourism; finance and accounting; marketing and communications; business management and administration; and entrepreneurship. Conferences involve individual students preparing presentations to a different judge each of two days, or teams or individuals can compete in case study categories in which students are given thirty minutes to prepare answers for judges based upon a given scenario that they do not know about ahead of time. The case study category competitors also are given a different scenario each of two days and present to a different judge or pair of judges each day. Some individual events also involve taking an online subject matter test prior to the competition and is used as part of the overall score.


Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament: Student business competition, presented by WiSys, goes virtual June 10

UW System student entrepreneurs will compete for funding and recognition.

Eight teams of student entrepreneurs (three from UW-Green Bay) will compete for cash prizes and recognition in the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament, presented by WiSys.

The tournament brings together teams of university students from across the state to pitch innovative business ideas. The competition was established to extend the Wisconsin entrepreneurial ecosystem to University of Wisconsin students with the goal to improve the overall quality of business startup performance in the state.

This year’s tournament, which will be conducted virtually because of the coronavirus crisis, will be broadcast on WiSys’ Facebook page and YouTube channel on June 10 at 6 p.m.

The first place team will win a $2,500 cash prize courtesy of Idea Fund of La Crosse. The second place team will receive a $1,500 cash prize, courtesy of gener8tor, and the third place team will receive a $500, courtesy of Charter Bank. The participating teams, which won local feeder competitions or received an at-large bid, include:

  • Didómi LLC: UW-River Falls students Lamah Bility and Anaa Jibicho want to sell fashionable, reusable water bottles and donate a portion of the profits to combating the water crisis in developing countries.
  • G-Pods: The business idea of UW-Green Bay’s Logan Holbrook and Katelyn Desrochers is for a hearing-aid with sensors to monitor the user’s health data and call for help in the case of an emergency.
  • Lëvor: The organic hair care company, presented by UW-Milwaukee’s Loren Nelson and Johnathan Brown, aims to desegregate the haircare industry by providing hair care for all hair types.
  • Local2You LLC: UW-Green Bay’s Noah Redfearn, Emily Walczak and Madeline Yoss want to create an online service to connect local entrepreneurs and inventors to virtual markets.
  • Prexo: Ian McDonald and Abbie Merrill of UW Oshkosh are developing a political app to allow users to easily track presidential executive orders.
  • Spark Convos, LLC: UW-Eau Claire’s Mary Cait McManamon’s online business is committed to sparking in-person connections by selling apparel that inspires conversations.
  • 20 Credit Studios: UW-Stout’s Justin Bryant and Katelyn Zenz want to make fun games for a wide audience by developing a close feedback relationship with consumers.
  • 3C: Sydney Gille, Brett Nimz and Joe Doro of UW-Green Bay are creating an online platform to connect volunteers with charities that need help completing social good projects.

For more information about the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament, visit wisys.org/bigidea.

This year’s Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament is sponsored by Charter Bank, gener8tor, Idea Fund of La Crosse, Market & Johnson, UW System, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Xcel Energy.

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.


Craig Sauer

WiSys | Marketing & Communications Associate



Art, Accounting and Business majors win first Business Model Contest

A team of UW-Green Bay students with majors in Art, Accounting and Business Administration have won first place in UWGB’s first student business model contest. Emily Barnes (Accounting), Lydia Delikat-Mitchell (Art), and Brianna Pritzl (Business Administration) entered their business model for SoapShop, a retailer of high quality products, such as shampoos and conditioners, that use refillable aluminum bottles. The solution reduces single-use plastic. This first-of-its-kind contest at UW-Green Bay required students to submit two-minute business model presentation videos that covered 8 different business model criteria.

The team earned $750 cash from Dental City and will move on as the top qualifier from UWGB to compete International Video Pitch contest hosted by the University of Pecs in Hungary. The team will compete against the top two business model video presentations from students of other universities around the world. See more about the International Video Pitch contest. Or see more information on how UWGB joined the partnership consortium of worldwide universities to compete in this contest.

The SoapShop team also recently finished in fifth place in the Spring 2020 UWGB Student [Virtual] Business Idea Pitch Contest and were also part of the New Venture Acceleration studio accelerator class.

The second place team, and winner of $250 cash from Dental City, is Caps Off. The Caps Off team of Business Administration majors Molly Hurrish, Kody Kohnke, Cory Gruendemann, and Kayla Wendland will also compete in the International Video Pitch contest. The Caps Off business model provides a better way to recycle plastic by using a smart vending machine and a rewards system. Caps Off recently finished in first place in the Spring 2020 UWGB Student [Virtual] Business Idea Pitch Contest.

As part of the worldwide partners consortium for the International Video Pitch contest, UWGB was tasked, along with all other universities in the contest, to provide three volunteer judges. UWGB alumni Abby Kiefer ’03 (Urban and Regional Studies, Environmental Policy and Planning) and Randy Knaflic ’95 (Music), as well as gBETA Northeast Wisconsin and gBETA Musictech director Adrienne Palm, served as UWGB’s three judges. Palm will also judge the International round of the contest. For more information on these judges, go to https://ivpitch.pte.hu/judges.

For more information on the Entrepreneurship program at UWGB, visit www.uwgb.edu/entrepreneurship or contact lecturer of entrepreneurship Ryan Kauth at KauthR@uwgb.edu.


UW-Green Bay alumni pitch virtually to gBETA Northeast Wisconsin

UW-Green Bay alumni and founders Yana DeMyer ’84 (Communication and the Arts) of Roving Blue and Justin Seidl ’12 (Art) of Sequoir both recently pitched virtually to conclude the spring 2020 cohort of gBETA Northeast Wisconsin. gBETA Northeast Wisconsin is a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots and requires no fees and no equity. gBETA Northeast Wisconsin and is sponsored by the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business, WiSys, and Microsoft.

DeMyer’s Roving Blue® products harness “The Power of EO3™“ (electrolytic ozone). Ozone dissolved in water is more powerful than chlorine, quickly reverts to oxygen, and leaves no chemical residue, making it an eco-friendly and sustainable sanitizing solution for water purification, food and beverage, dental, and agriculture.

Seidl’s Sequoir is a blockchain-built exchange—providing transparency, time-efficient management, and accurate reporting—for buying and selling digital assets, including cryptocurrencies and intellectual property.

See more information on gBETA, Sequoir, Roving Blue, and the other three gBETA Northeast Wisconsin spring 2020 cohort companies – Future State, Proceed.app, and KBD Oil.


Insight lists UW-Green Bay entrepreneurs in ‘Feel Good Friday’ post

Check out item #3 from Insight publications’ “Feel Good Friday”

#3 You can’t stop the spirit of entrepreneurship. A team of four business administration majors from the UW-Green Bay New Venture Acceleration studio accelerator class won the Business Idea Pitch Contest with their idea, “Caps Off.” The student team pitched a better way to recycle plastic by using a smart vending machine and rewards system. Many more students placed in the contest with their creative, innovative ideas. Congrats, teams!



UW-Green Bay’s New Venture Acceleration students lead the way in business idea contest

Teams reigned supreme in the Spring 2020 UW-Green Bay (virtual) Business Idea Pitch Contest, recently. A team of four Business Administration majors from the UWGB New Venture Acceleration studio accelerator class took first place in the Spring 2020 (virtual) Business Idea Contest. Their business idea, Caps Off (pictured), is a better way to recycle plastic by using a smart vending machine and a rewards system.

Each semester for the past three years, UW-Green Bay has held business idea pitch contests on its campuses. The contest is open to all UW-Green Bay students of all majors. Dental City provided the cash prizes for this spring’s contest. Every student earning one of the top four prizes was a Business Administration major.

First place—The Caps Off team of Business Administration majors, Molly Hurrish, Kody Kohke, Cory Gruendemann and Kayla Wendland, took home the first place $500 cash prize from Dental City.

Second place—Joe Doro, Sydney Gille  and Brett Nimz, finished second and received $250. Their business idea, 3C, better Connects volunteers to Collaborate and Contribute with charities via an online avenue for completing specific social responsibility projects, community building projects and relationship creating projects.

Third place—Noah Redfearn, Emily Walczak, Brody Wiest and Maddie Yoss (Business Administration). Their business idea, Local2You, provides small business owners, inventors, crafters and artists a full-service way to get their products marketed and sold online from locally to globally.

Fourth place—and the winner of the People’s Choice Award from the cumulative votes of UW-Green Bay alumni entrepreneurs and UW-Green Bay employees—was the team of Jocie Georgeson, Valerie Ploeckelman, and Erin Reinke. They are the inventors of The Comeback CaneTM and earned $100 cash from Dental City. The Comeback CaneTM won’t fall to the ground when users drop it, preventing cane users from further injury as a result of having to pick up their canes.

Fifth place—and the winners of $50 from Dental City, was the team of Emily Barnes (Accounting), Lydia Delikat-Mitchell (Art) and Brianna Pritzl (Business Administration) with their business idea of SoapShop, a plastic-free high quality shampoo and conditioner retailer of high quality products in refillable aluminum bottles. The solution reduces single-use plastic.

For more information on UWGB’s entrepreneurship program (certificate for all majors, emphasis in the Business Administration major, contests open to all majors), please contact lecturer of entrepreneurship Ryan Kauth at KauthR@uwgb.edu or visit www.uwgb.edu/entrepreneurship.

In the photo from left to right: First-place prize winners, Molly Hurrish, Kody Kohke, Cory Gruendemann and Kayla Wendland.