CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge a month away

Twenty-eight teams will be competing for the grand prize of $250,000 in the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge in May. They spent two days in April at the Innosphere, networking and learning how to make their businesses better.

With one of the nation’s richest business pitch competitions just a month away, competitors in the Colorado State University Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge gathered in Fort Collins for two days of business training and guidance on presenting their companies with a winning pitch.

“The Competitor Conference is what sets the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge apart from other highly competitive, high-stakes business pitch competitions,” said Christine Chin, interim director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship in the CSU College of Business, and co-director of the Challenge. “Whether a team wins the $250,000 grand prize or not, every company takes away learning and insights from experts that they can use to improve their operations and become better businesses.”

The CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge is presented by founding sponsors Colorado State University and Fort Collins-based Blue Ocean Enterprises. The competition, set for May 27-30 in the Lory Student Center, is a celebration of innovation, leadership development, and job creation, and is open to collegiate entrepreneurs throughout Colorado as well as startups and existing companies throughout the United States seeking funding and business mentoring.

Second year for Challenge

This is the second year for the Challenge, which takes place in conjunction with Fort Collins Startup Week immediately after Memorial Day. Thirteen Collegiate competitors will pitch on May 27 for a first prize of $20,000 and a berth in the Enterprise Competition, and 15 Enterprise Competition companies will pitch before the judges’ panel on May 29-30 fro the $250,000 grand prize. All winners also receive business mentoring from executives at Blue Ocean Enterprises.

Blue Ocean Enterprises is a management company that was established in 2011 by OtterBox Founder and Chairman Curt Richardson and his wife, Nancy Richardson, to provide business mentoring, accounting, legal, information technology, real estate, and human relations services to its affiliated companies.

During the Competitor Conference, teams heard from Richardson about his philosophy of how to run a business that aligns with your values and received training from the Growth Curve Institute on everything from refining a business plan to managing cash flow. That was followed by a day of presentation training to prepare for the competition in May, under the guidance of Ethos3.

Value of networking

The most valuable aspect of the gathering, however, was the networking and interaction among the entrepreneurs, whose experience ranges from brand-new startups founded by graduating college seniors to industry veterans finally striking out on their own. The 28 competitor companies represent 15 different industry segments; many have participated in some form of business incubation, such as Tech Stars or Boomtown, or other pitch competitions.

“The training has been so valuable,” said Jennifer Maskrey, founder of QB Labs in Parker, recent winner of the Monfort Entrepreneurial Challenge in Denver and an Enterprise competitor. “I got my degree in science, so everything I learned about running a business was from spending time in corporate America. There was nothing like the Institute for Entrepreneurship when I was in college, and I really wish I had this kind of input at the college level. This weekend has been refreshingly helpful.”

“The level of competition is so much higher than I expected,” added Rich Fitzgerald, co-founder of Extrude to Fill of Loveland, also an Enterprise competitor. “I thought the collegiate companies would be something cooked up in a dorm room, but these are real companies, run by Ph.D. candidates. I am super impressed with their ideas.”

Learn more about the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge, or volunteer to be part of the event.

2015 CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge Collegiate Competitors

[row][double_paragraph]

Axios Impact Investments

Colorado State University

Revolutionizing rural financing in the developing world, by connecting committed investors to worthy organizations, Axios serves as the financing arm for local social enterprises that have income producing assets to create lasting impact.

BOOM Algae

University of Colorado Boulder

The first algae CO2 co-locator in the world to capture waste gas produced when sugars ferment into alcohol during the production of beer. Algae, which is processed into products such as omega-3 oils and animal feeds, can be harvested at a concentration thousand times greater than conventional methods with BOOM’s revolving algae biofilm reactor.

Change Composites

Colorado State University

Change Composites makes the Umbo bicycle helmet, which uses a patented innovative shock absorption technology that results in a superior amount of shock absorption to reduce the distributed force transferred to the brain during an accident.

ChemWithRay

Colorado State University

A web-based platform that provides high-quality online tutoring for college-level and Advanced Placement general chemistry students. The mission of ChemWithRay is to be the most tailored, precise tutoring resource available to help students pass their courses.

Gamecentrics

Colorado State University

A cloud-based gamification platform that provides organizations with the ability to launch a variety of intuitive and easy to understand games designed to engage employees and provide incentives for them to do their best on a consistent basis while also providing organizations the ability to measure performance data in real-time be it productivity, quality, or safety metrics.

Native

University of Colorado Boulder

A personal travel assistant for everyone. Native plans, books, and handles the headaches of travel — all from a mobile app for only $25 per month. Native’s human travel assistants and machine learning technology combine to provide a concierge travel planning experience at an affordable price.

NüBrü Coffee

University of Colorado Boulder

Brewed in Boulder County, Colo. for over 14 hours using cool Rocky Mountain water, NüBrü is significantly less acidic than hot-brewed coffee. NüBrü, served cold, is bottled in a lightweight, recyclable plastic bottle.

[/double_paragraph][double_paragraph]

QuadshoX

Colorado State University

QuadshoX creates advancements in wheelchair technology and is deeply dedicated to improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis. The CEO and founder is a C-4 quadriplegic; QuadshoX is truly a company providing solutions for people in wheelchairs, designed by people in wheelchairs.

Rocky Mountain Sriracha

Colorado Mesa University

Made with just five simple ingredients, no preservatives, and jarred directly after cooking, Rocky Mountain Sriracha is one of the healthiest hot sauces on the market.

The Space Research Company

University of Colorado Boulder

TSRCo builds, launches, and operates standardized small satellites — known in the space industry as CubeSats — to conduct cutting-edge space-based research with applications such as drug discovery, synthetic biology, biomedical engineering, materials research, combustion, thermofluids, and fundamental physics.

Viagozo

University of Colorado Boulder

Launching in Nicaragua in 2015 with plans to expand throughout Latin America, Viagozo connects tourists with local people through an online platform. This provides additional income to locals while creating one-of-a-kind experiences for the curious traveler, who can share the culture in a mutually beneficial exchange that promotes greater cultural understanding.

Wise Art Foods

Colorado State University

Manufactures and distributes functional foods to retailers and website consumers. Functional foods are whole foods, not extracts or isolated compounds; they provide a health benefit beyond the nutrients they contain.

YOUglycemia

University of Colorado Boulder

YOUglycemia offers expertise in diabetes care including insulin pump management, registered dietitians, and aerobic endurance coaching, founded by four individuals with type 1 diabetes who are aerobic endurance athletes and span the range of expertise in the clinical management of diabetes, basic science research in immunology, nutrition counseling and education, and financial management.

[/double_paragraph] [/row]