A GWSB MBA student was part of a team that won $25,000 to help fund a business in the 2011 GW Business Plan Competition. Anthony Shop, an MBA student, alumnus David Raffel, BA,’76, and team members Daniel Zaslavsky and Thomas Sanchez beat a record 112 teams to win the April 14-15 competition. Their idea, Lead Driver, provides customized car brochures for customers and is already in use at five dealerships in Kansas City, Mo.
Lead Driver’s web-based software, DealerPrints, creates brochures that are made specifically for the dealership, the car and the customer. Sales staff enter information about the customer and their needs and then generates a personalized brochure that is intended to shorten the sale cycle. The team plans to use the funding to implement Lead Driver in 24 dealerships in Kansas City and Chicago.
An additional total of $25,000 was awarded and split among three teams of runners-up.
“We made tremendous progress that we’d have never made if we weren’t part of this competition,” Shop said. “Winning is great – it’s the icing on the cake. But we came so much further along just because we participated.”
The Business Plan Competition finalists survived three rounds of competition over a two-month period. During the final round, each team presented creative and innovative business plans to a distinguished panel of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders in a real-world format modeled after venture-capital presentations. First runner-up Farham Daredia presented Bookstore Genie, a service that sells used books online at a rate that’s cheaper than all current competitors. Daredia also won for best undergraduate team. Second runners-up were GWSB MBA students Jason Himara and Achal Bassi, who presented Leafworks, biodegradable flatware made of leaves. Third runners-up were Ryan Rice and Peter Buckley, who presented Ascend Air, a skyship used to transport people within the Washington, D.C. metro region.
“I think entrepreneurship is at an all-time high,” said local entrepreneur John Rollins, who founded AZTECH Software Corporation, served for 30 years as its CEO and chairman and subsequently founded StreamCenter. “The judges were very impressed with several aspects of the Lead Driver presentation. It’s a product that’s up and running today in multiple car dealerships so they had a head start from other teams, and [the judges] also liked the fact it was a multi-disciplined team. That kind of team balance makes a big difference when you’re starting a business,” said Rollins, an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and member of the Board of Advisors at GWSB.
The GW Business Plan Competition, funded by donors Richard and Annette Scott, awards cash prizes to GW teams presenting great ideas for a new product or service to a panel of distinguished entrepreneurs affiliated with the university. The Scotts’ daughter, Allison Scott Guimard, graduated from GW’s School of Business in 2005. Additional sponsors of the competition include Blank Rome, istrategylabs and Tech Cocktail. Internal sponsors from the university include the GW School of Business, The Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Office of Entrepreneurship, Alumni Association, Medical Center, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
To watch a video of the competition, please click here.
Posted by gwsb on April 19, 2011 | Filed under: GWSB News.