Student Entrepreneurs Kick-Start Their Companies at HPU's First Business Competition

HIGH POINT, N.C., May 2, 2011 ? Students in the Phillips School of Business at High Point University have big dreams to start their own businesses and change the world in the process. Those students got the opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of judges at HPU?s first Business Plan Competition, where the top three finalists collectively won $15,000 in start-up funds.

The competition was sponsored by HPU?s Phillips School of Business and its Center for Entrepreneurship, in partnership with BB&T. The panel consisted of a group of local business experts, including BB&T senior vice president Kelly Sain.

The first-place winner was Ryan Varley, a sophomore majoring in entrepreneurship, who?s changing the way service industries, such as restaurants and hotels, communicate with their customers. His company, Siren Alerts, uses a text messaging system to alert customers when their dinner reservation is ready, when their dry cleaning can be picked up and more.

?This was the perfect opportunity for me and all entrepreneurship students at HPU,? Varley says. ?Having this competition gave students an incentive to develop their ideas and the experience to pitch those ideas to some of the Piedmont?s top business people.?

Seth Gold, a junior, won second place in the competition for his company, Bamboo Apparel, which makes shirts that are 70 percent bamboo and 30 percent organic cotton in an effort to cut down on the use of chemically-treated cotton. The company also is donating one shirt to a person in need in Uganda for every shirt that it sells.

Juniors Victor Trinklein and Graham Howard and sophomore Kyle Coughlin placed third for their presentation on Webtextbooks, a plan designed by the students that would offer an unlimited subscription to a library of online books.

The presenters won $7,500, $5,000 and $2,500, respectively.

?The competition was an opportunity for HPU students to become real-life entrepreneurs,? said Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, associate professor of business administration and director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. ?It was a semester-long process to determine these three finalists, but it paid off for them.?

At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with over 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students from 51 countries and 46 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report at No. 3 among Regional Colleges in the South. ranks HPU in the top 7 percent among ?America?s Best Colleges.? Parade Magazine lists HPU in the top 25 private schools in the nation. The university offers 50 undergraduate majors, 43 undergraduate minors and 14 graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at

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Pam Haynes

Communication Specialist


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