UNI MBA Student Wins Business Plan Competition; Honorable Mention for Second UNI Team

A University of Northern Iowa student has won one of three $5,000 first place awards in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition held at UNI on March 6.

Zach Hedrington, a graduate student majoring in business administration from Cedar Falls, won for his business; 3Fueled L.L.C. 3Fueled consults with companies that want to produce energy and byproducts from renewable energy and annually renewable feedstocks. 3Fueled helps these companies attain economic utilization of the major fractions of biomass as well as minor components that can be functionalized into high-value specialty products.

"The biggest challenge in the competition was going up against brilliant students from all over the state of Iowa who have as much passion and determination behind their ideas as I do," said Hedrington. "The win is a confirmation that my efforts paid off. The response I received from Equity Dynamics, one of the most reputable venture capital firms in Iowa, solidified in my mind that my concept could make a significant impact on the renewable energy industry."

Travis Lloyd Smith and Dante Means, a sophomore communications major from Waterloo, received a $1,000 honorable mention for their business, Band of Christians L.L.C. Band of Christians is an entertainment company dedicated to providing motivational speaking, professional workshops, and inspirational music for audiences of all ages, races, and backgrounds.

The annual competition is sponsored by John Pappajohn, Equity Dynamics, and the Pappajohn Centers at Drake University, Iowa State University, North Iowa Area Community College, The University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa. The competition is intended for Iowa university and college students with an interest in starting their own business. A maximum of 15 regional-winner students or student teams can compete in the competition at the state level. Three seed grants in the amount of $5,000 each are awarded to the top three business plans submitted in the competition.

In photo, left to right, are: Dante Means, Band of Christians LLC; Zach Hedrington, 3Fueled LLC; Matt Kinley, competition judge from Equity Dynamics; Travis Lloyd Smith, Band of Christians LLC.