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Eller College Home > News, Events, and Multimedia > Press Releases > McGuire Center celebrates new venture teams

Press Release

Eller Press Contact

Liz Warren-Pederson
Eller College of Management

McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship celebrates new venture teams

Tech support concept tops competition; Apache Junction teen wins Arizona Youth Entrepreneurship Award

TUCSON, Ariz. – April 23, 2008 – The University of Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the Eller College of Management closed the academic year on a high note Friday, April 18. The 2008 Spring Venture Development Showcase turned the spotlight on concepts developed by four finalist venture teams, and provided the venue for recognizing three high school students selected as finalists by the Eller College undergraduate program in the second annual Arizona Youth Entrepreneurship Award.

SkillIT, a Web 2.0 community which connects technology-savvy college students with their techno-challenged counterparts, won top honors in the new venture competition. Successfully completing rigorous Idea Path coursework, the scrutiny of McGuire Center mentors, and three rounds of competition, the SkillIT team was given the final nod from competition judges and reigned supreme over 19 teams. Runners up were Cookie Fusion, Fireguard Industries, and UBike Incorporated. The SkillIT team members shared a $1,000 award.

“The Idea Path is a method that mirrors the real-world entrepreneurial process. Students use it to develop all of their innovative concepts,” said Sherry Hoskinson, director of the McGuire Center. “Through their investigative process, the SkillIT team identified the need for affordable computer tech support. Their solution was to connect users in need of support with skilled college students using an intuitive web platform.”

Jason Blevins, a senior at Apache Junction High School in Apache Junction, Ariz., won the second Arizona Youth Entrepreneurship Award. The award was created in 2007 to promote entrepreneurial awareness and education in Arizona’s high schools. Blevins received a monetary award of $2,000 for his business plan for J.B. Music Hut, a retail store targeting customers interested in rock and country music. His shop would sell guitars, drums, strings, and microphones. Blevins and runners-up Cristy Martinez, a junior at Apache Junction High School, and Andres Squire, a junior at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria, Ariz., were invited to present their business plans during the Spring Venture Showcase and received coaching during their campus visit.

The 2008 Spring Venture Development Showcase Series was supported by CB Richard Ellis. Winners and runners-up were recognized during an afternoon awards presentation and reception at McClelland Hall, The University of Arizona.

About the Runners Up

McGuire Center new venture teams:

  • Cookie Fusion: cookie shops offering fresh, baked-to-order cookies featuring client-selected ingredients.
  • Fireguard Industries: marketing a revolutionary fire nozzle called VIPER which puts out fires 40% faster with 50% less water.
  • UBike Incorporated: automated bicycle rental kiosk systems for short-term commuter use on college campuses.

Arizona Youth Entrepreneurship:

  • Andres Squire is a junior at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria, Ariz. Her business plan, Cereal Café, will provide a quick, inexpensive breakfast for college students.
  • Cristy Martinez is a junior at Apache Junction High School. Her business plan, La Perfection, is a photography business focused on creating beautiful and unforgettable memories for its clients.

The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program No. 11 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program No. 48 in the U.S. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the No. 25-ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,800 undergraduate and 800 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and on its satellite campus in downtown Phoenix.

Press Contact:
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management

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