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CSU-Pueblo announces entrepreneur competition winners

Release Date: April 13, 2016

Cora Zaletel

Executive Director, External Affairs

Colorado State University-Pueblo


Press Release

PUEBLO - Entrepreneurs pitched their product ideas and business plans on Friday, April 8 as part of the Third Annual Pueblo Entrepreneurship Competition coordinated by the Healy Center in the Hasan School of Business at Colorado State University-Pueblo. Three student teams presented in the K-12 division, and six entrepreneurial hopefuls pitched their business ideas, "shark tank" style to five venture capitalists.

Dalton Rudolph, a Pueblo West High School student, was the top winner in the student division, earning $1,000 cash and a $4,000 scholarship, payable over four years to the CSU-Pueblo Hasan School of Business for his idea, "Cyclone Cinema." Rudolph's idea was to use the Pueblo West High School Auditorium to show third run movies as a way to raise funds for the school and bring the community together.

The Alpha Learning Academy team of Anthony Bergman, Jack Decker, John Swatzki, and Tyron Trujillo won $500 cash for their business idea of making and marketing suicide prevention awareness apparel. Bergman won a $500 President's Scholarship to Pueblo Community College. The third place award of $250 cash went to the Centennial High School team of Brielle Bruce, Nicole Buttram, and Megan Caulkins, for their business plan for a teen center. Judges for the student teams were Russell DeSalvo III, Dave Feamster, Kurt Madic, and Caroline Trani.

In the adult division, Ryan Madic, a 16-year-old entrepreneur, was the big winner after presenting his business idea for the EZ Protein Machine. Calling it the "Keurig of Protein," Madic's machine will hold up to a four-week supply of three different types of protein powder and a week's worth of water. Two sharks made Madic an offer of $50,000, to which Ryan eventually agreed.

Zach Collier presented a revolutionary application to replace passwords and help prevent computer system hacking. While impressed with the business idea, the sharks were not ready to make an offer. Patricia Lovato created a 3-D printed shoe for people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or "drop foot" syndrome. Although Lovato was not immediately funded, one of the sharks invited Lovato to engage in continued discussion.

Other ideas presented, but not immediately funded included:

  • Braun Williams, unique prototype for jazz dance shoes.
  • Matt Masias, popcorn business, Colonel Pop, which uses natural and unique flavors, including basil, maple bacon, and brown sugar cinnamon.
  • Meral Sarper, Permaculture business

Prizes awarded to the adult competitors included the Dave Feamster Award of $1,250 to Ryan Madic, a $1,000 value for legal fees from Banner and Bower awarded to Zach Collier, and a year's igloo use at Puebloplex awarded to Meral Sarper. Venture Capitalist sharks for the adult event were Frank Cortese, Brian Mater, Sean McCarthy, Todd Pasquin, and Robert Taylor.

Participants were inspired by the compelling presentation of Lamar native and keynote speaker Linda Clark about her entrepreneurial journey over the last 30 years. Clark started her first business, Play Clay, more than 25 years ago in her kitchen, producing organic play dough. Play Clay continues to prosper and provides funding for her new business, Simply Fit Boards, an idea sparked by standing on her grandkids' skateboards. She spent more than $30,000 dollars on a plastic mold and she and her daughter, Gloria Hoffman, went to a Shark Tank audition and later signed a deal with shark, Lori Greiner. She has also pitched her product on QVC and has sold as many as 500 units per minute.

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.

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