UNI Student Wins State Business Plan Competition Winners,2010

A University of Northern Iowa (UNI) student has won one of three $5,000 first place awards in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition held at North Iowa Area Community College on February 26.

Nick Cash, a sophomore double majoring in computer science and economics from Cedar Falls, won for his business; Book Hatchery. Book Hatchery is a start-up located in UNI's student business incubator. Through the use of a comprehensive suite of software tools, Book Hatchery provides self-publishers the ability to manage and sell their texts as well as maximize their publications' exposure on the Internet. Book Hatchery also aims to create a strong community for self-publishers seeking a platform of support and an ability to share their expertise for the benefit of all authors.

"Writing a good business plan takes a lot of work, dedication, and yes, planning! Market research is vital; without it I would not have been able to answer many of the judges' questions, and having accurate information from reliable sources lends a lot of weight to your words. The judges' level of professionalism was intimidating; they understand the merits of your idea, so they drill you on its weaknesses. It is great knowing that all of the effort paid off not just by winning the competition, but by also having produced a thorough and detailed business plan to guide my future efforts."

Travis Lloyd Smith and Dante Means, a junior communications major from Waterloo, were a UNI Regional winner with 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. Kay McClure, a graduate student majoring in exercise science from Denver, was a UNI Regional winner with her business, Sanctuary Yoga and Wellness Studio. Sanctuary is an eco-conscious green studio offering Hatha-inspired Yoga classes, Tai Chi, and specialty yoga.

The other two state-level winners were Dibseez, a web-based auction site, from a University of Iowa team, and Lincoln & Lexi, a home party service for babies and moms, from Drake University.

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.

Photo (l to r): Dante Means, Nick Cash, Kay McClure, and Travis Lloyd Smith