Fall 2016 Entrepreneurship + Innovation Competition

Dec. 10, 2016


This Fall, the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship held the first Entrepreneurship + Innovation Competition, a semester-end competition that showcased pitches for business plans developed by students in ENTR 485: Innovating: Creating the Future, the Eller Entrepreneurship + Innovation Capstone (EI). Key Tie, which aims to provide college-aged students with an attractive and secure solution to carrying their dorm or house key, won the top prize and $500.

"We were so honored to compete against our peers and are so proud of our product," said Key Tie team member Matt Wall.

"We are excited about the potential of bringing Key Tie to the UA," said team member Kathryn Hennessy

The Eller College of Management has a strategic objective that every student in the undergraduate business program will graduate with transferable knowledge and skills in innovation and entrepreneurship. As a result, all Eller seniors are required to either participate in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program or enroll in the EI Capstone, ENTR 485. Each semester, there are 9 or 10 sections of ENTR 485, each containing 50 students. Students in the class form teams to create and develop an idea into a viable business opportunity, and by the end of the semester, each team has prepared a full business plan. Each section holds an internal pitch competition to determine which team will compete in the final Entrepreneurship + Innovation Competition. 

Finalists from seven sections of the class competed on Wednesday, Dec. 7, and the winner and runner-up were selected by a panel of judges made up of local entrepreneurs and investors. The judging panel included: 

  • Joseph Broschak, Ph.D., the Executive Director of the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship and an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Arizona, Eller College of Management
  • Christopher Dudding, Co-Founder of Three Wells Distilling Company and a graduate of the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program
  • Jason Makansi, President of Pearl Street, specializes in technology deployment for the electricity and energy industries. His clients include electric utilities, Fortune 50 global energy firms, growing technology firms, and garage shop inventors. 

The judges said they selected Key Tie as the winner because the team identified a problem and articulated a clear, low-cost, scalable solution. Lecturer Mark Peterson, who selected Key Tie from among his student teams, agreed. 

"Key Tie is a concept that not only offers a stylish solution to a common problem but also is simple enough to be set-up quickly and with a relatively minimal investment," he said. 

Ruff Waters, a recreational and water-based activity center that provides a unique, fun, and safe experience for dogs and their families, won second place. 

"Even though we all come from different majors, we had a great time in class and learned a lot, and we were so glad to make it to the Entrepreneurship + Innovation Competition," said Gabby Fernety of Ruff Waters. 

The Fall 2016 finalists also included:

  • CortoVino is the first exclusive, online half-bottle wine club that offers a variety of quality wines, personalized specifically to your palate.
  • LinkedFit is dedicated to bringing the social meet up market together with the health and fitness market to form a group fitness app
  • List’N provides the everyday shopper with an entirely new way to keep track of his/her groceries and innovates the way he/she will shop.
  • Tech U-Lock uses bluetooth technology to notify your phone when your bike is being stolen while also sounding a siren to alert people.
  • ZonaGo is a smartphone parking app using QR codes that is best suited to the needs of University of Arizona students and visitors.


See The full album of the Fall 2016 Entrepreneurship + Innovation Competition