jessica kerr bpc elevator winner 2014

Friday October 31, 2014

Fishing Idea Lures Prize

A University of Dayton student won the elevator pitch portion of the 2014-2015 University of Dayton Business Plan Competition with an idea for a high-tech fishing lure.

Entrepreneurship and marketing major Jessica Kerr won the $1,500 top prize for her pitch for Shake-N-Bait, a universal, electroactive fishing lure that imitates a small, wriggling fish.

New tracks for green technology and social enterprises awarded $2,500 prizes to the best entries addressing sustainability issues or focusing on creating a business with a social mission.

Full Circle Trailer Aerodynamics won the sustainability award. Working with the School of Engineering, the team developed a design to improve fuel mileage of tractor-trailers. With more than 2 million tractor-trailers on U.S. roads, the design has the potential to foster significant fuel energy savings.

The best social enterprise winner was College Basecamp. College Basecamp is a training program to help high school students better prepare for college. Basecamp offers scholarships to participating underprivileged students.

"We added these new tracks because in the last few years we have seen a growing interest from entrepreneurs interested in creating businesses focused on sustainable initiatives or social enterprises," said Vince Lewis, competition coordinator and lecturer in management and entrepreneurship. "These types of ventures are also consistent with the University’s Marianist values. It is important to encourage our students and the community to lend their entrepreneurial creativity to ventures that promote the common good."

The new focus areas created significant interest in the competition and represented more than a quarter of the entries, Lewis said. Three entries in the new focus areas — College Base Camp, Full Circle Trailer Aerodynamics and Hammocks that Help — were selected as semifinalists.

Now in its ninth year, the competition offers $80,000 in cash prizes plus about $100,000 in additional services including free legal help, professional sales training, business planning software and expert advice on transforming a great idea into a viable business opportunity.

The competition is aimed at helping startups get off the ground and get to the next level of growth by offering advice from experienced business professionals, investors and entrepreneurs.

University students, alumni and local entrepreneurs were included in the more than 60 teams that submitted entries and presented one-minute elevator pitches Oct. 25, in the first round of the competition. Elevator pitch winners are:

First place, $1,500: Jessica Kerr, Electroactive Fishing Lure/Shake-N-Bait; Tie Second/Third, $750: Justin D’Arcy, College Base Camp and Ann Kyne; Full Circle Trailer Aerodynamics; Fourth, $500: Mark Marinella, Phytodense Foods

Other elevator pitch presenters winning $250 included Shane Jabir, Hammocks That Help; Khristian Santiago, Fever Smart; Andrew Klein, Smart Barn; Jeremy Smith, You Tune Hearing Protection; Rodolfo Victores, Fitnesse Bar; Olivia Wilcox, Food Friend; and Christopher Janney; Non-Procrustean Modular Spinal Backboard.

Ten entries will advance on to the semifinal round and will earn $1,000 each for making five-minute presentations in that round. Five of those teams will advance to the final stage and compete for the top prize of $25,000 in March, 2015. Not all elevator pitch winners were selected as semifinalists, and not all semifinalists were elevator pitch winners.

Semifinalists are: College Base Camp, Justin D’Arcy, Emily Meyer; Full Circle Trailer Aerodynamics, Ann Kyne, Adam Marasco, Kevin Joseph, Jacob Houk; Smart Barn, Andrew Klein; Phytodense Foods, Mark Marinella, Jim Danis; You Tune Hearing Protection, Jeremy Smith, Jessica Smith; Fever Smart, Aaron Goldstein, Khristian Santiago, William Duckworth; Non-Procrustean Modular Spinal Backboard, Christopher Janney; Prosecution Helper, William Morriss, Yvonne Morriss; Hammocks That Help, Colin Johnson, Shane Jabir; and Fitnesse Bar, Rodolfo Victores.

The University of Dayton is recognized nationally for its undergraduate entrepreneurship program. The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine have ranked the program among the top 20 in the nation for nine straight years, the program was ranked 13th in the nation this year.

For more information on the competition visit or contact Vince Lewis at

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