2023 Middleton Business Plan Competition
April 26, 2023 – The Middleton Business Plan Competition was held on April 21 -22, 2023 on the University of North Dakota campus at Nistler Hall.
Open to all UND students, ten teams entered the preliminary round to present their business plans to twelve local judges. Entrepreneurship Professor, Dr. Sanjay Goel with partners such as the North Dakota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) organized numerous workshops to prepare participants to compete.
Four finalists advanced to the final round. Judges were Dr. Amy Henley, Dean of the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration, Tom Shorma, recently retired CEO/President of WCCO Belting, and Barry Wilfart, President & CEO, Grand Forks/East Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce.
The winner of the Sandra Braathen Memorial Business Plan Grand Prize of $10,000 was Geotinkers – Moones Alamooti, Shane Namie, and Shane Eiring (College of Engineering and Mines). Second place with a $8,000 prize was Tellegacy – Jeremy Holloway (MBA student). Third place with a $6,000 prize was Arctic Acai – Luke Leshuk, Bradlee Felton, and Charlie Andrys (Entrepreneurship students).
Winners Namie and Alamooti share their enthusiasm for the event, “Moones and I are engineers and want to convey to everyone at the University of North Dakota that programs such as this are confidence builders. I felt from everyone that entrepreneurship is not just about turning ideas into reality, but more about empowering others to do the same. The innovative ideas and feedback from everyone kept pushing the boundaries of what our team could accomplish,” says Namie.
Alamooti added, “Winning the Middleton Business Plan Competition was an incredible experience that challenged us to push the boundaries of our creativity and strategic thinking. We are grateful for the opportunity to have participated and for the invaluable lessons we learned along the way. This competition has not only helped us refine our business plan but has also given us the confidence to pursue our entrepreneurial dreams with conviction.”
All ten teams also competed in a 3-minute pitch competition. First place of $1,000 went to Tellegacy. The two teams tied for second place were GeoTinkers, and Health and Fitness Video Game App – John Poirier and Isaiah Sehrt (Entrepreneurship students).
Many were involved to make this event a success including eighteen judges, and numerous volunteers, faculty, and staff at the Nistler College. The Sandra Braathen Memorial Business Plan Competition Grand Prize was named in honor of Dr. Sandy Braathen, Langemo Faculty Fellow and Professor in the Middleton School of Entrepreneurship & Management. She was loved by all and worked extensively on this competition in recent years. She is greatly missed, and we will continue to remember her spirit.
This high impact experience for students is made possible through the donor support. “This event would not happen without the generous support from Tom and Konnie Middleton and we are so grateful for them,” says Entrepreneurship faculty member, Dr. Sheila Hanson, one of competition coordinators.