Students Win Start-Up Funds at Annual Business Plan Competition

From left to right, High Point University student Leah Larson was selected as the second place winner of the HPU Business Plan Competition, Brandon Holder was selected as the first place winner and Morgan Drucker was selected as the third place winner.

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 22, 2016 – Winners of High Point University’s Business Plan Competition received thousands of dollars towards their business idea on April 21 at the sixth annual event.

Hosted by High Point University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and supported by BB&T, the five finalists competed for $15,000 in start-up funds in the Michael L. and Laura M. Baur Institute for Executive Education in Cottrell Hall.

Brandon Holder was selected as the first place winner and recipient of $7,000 for his company, Water the World. Leah Larson was awarded second place and $4,000 for her company, Pedanology. Morgan Drucker was awarded third place and $2,000 for her IT company, called Drucker Enterprises.

All finalists were challenged to submit a business plan and present it in front of a panel of several judges consisting of local business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors. The business plans were evaluated on multiple criteria, including financial feasibility, uniqueness of the product or service, and clarity of the business model.

HPU Business Plan Competition 2016 2Holder has founded Water the World. Through the company, he has invented a water filtration system for drinking and agriculture around the world. Holder’s invention consists of a pump connected to a battery that can be turned on at the flip of a switch. Once on, the product distributes water at 5.5 gallons per minute. For some pumps, a clean drinking water attachment is put on it. The attachment reduces viruses, bacteria, cysts and protozoa by 99.99 percent, making virtually any water clean. It has a life-span of over a decade and uses gravity to filter water, also making it self-sustainable.

“Winning this money is amazing for my organization,” said Holder. “This will help provide clean drinking water to thousands of people globally. HPU has been instrumental in everything that Water the World has become and I am very thankful to attend this university. At the end of the day, when I am able to help people, it is a good day.”

Larson is developing a music education software called Pedanology that is meant to supplement and enhance established music training programs. Many students do not have the proper skills to effectively manage the individual practice required in order to rise to a level expected of serious music students. The software will lead the students in warm-ups, accompaniment, keeping in tune, diction, etc.

Drucker is developing an IT company called Drucker’s Enterprises that will feature an app called My University. This app will allow universities to engage potential students through the VR tool of Google Cardboard technology. This technology would allow future students to “Feel the Fit” of their college choices. Likewise, it will help universities recruit students from distances without increasing costs.

Two other finalists who competed, Shakira Ramsey and Bridget McKercher, will also receive cash prizes of $1,000 for their business plans.

“It is great to see youth that have ideas and are given the opportunity to take that idea and run with it,” said Chris Henson, chief operating officer for BB&T who served as a judge at the competition. “Many students don’t get this opportunity and I am happy to be involved and judge something like this. Clearly each of these students put in a lot of hard work and they did a great job.”

“I am very proud of the students that participated in the competition,” said Kathy Elliott, assistant professor and director of entrepreneurship at HPU. “Each student had a top notch business plan and presented it well. I am glad that we as a university are able to support them in their endeavors and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for each of them and their business plans.”

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