Entrepreneur of the year goes nuts

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    By Scott Smith

    Nuts were turned to bucks when nut salesman Nathan Murray won the Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

    The $5,000 prize was awarded to the founder of Nutty Guys, a nut and dried fruit retail company, at a banquet in the N. Eldon Tanner Building last week.

    The Entrepreneur of the year award is one of two contests sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs.

    Murray said he was surprised to win the award. He thought he would be in the top five and was aiming to place second, he said.

    Originally, Murray’s business was produce. Soon he said he found there was a great interest in nuts, so he adjusted his business to provide both retail and wholesale nuts.

    “We have the biggest selection of nuts, dried fruits, candy and seeds on the Internet and we sell to retail customers in over 40 states,” Murray said.

    He said the wholesale side of his business sells to companies like Great Harvest, Good Earth, and Allen’s Grocery Store.

    His success is due to running the business out of his home and doing everything possible to keep costs down, Murray said.

    According to the Center for Entrepreneurship Web site, http://marriottschool.byu.edu/cfe/, the contest requires entrants to be full-time students.

    They must operate as a business for at least one year and demonstrate the business is generating revenue and contributing to the growth of industry and the economy.

    Craig Earnshaw, director of the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs, said the ceremony to give the award is one of his favorite nights of the year.

    The banquet offered students the chance to learn about business that may be running out of the apartment next door, Earnshaw said.

    Steve Saunders, vice president of marketing for the association of collegiate entrepreneurs, said that with each contest he has seen more student entrepreneurs with good ideas.

    This year the prize money was much more than previous contests. The winner received $5000 as opposed to $3000 last year.

    “There is no reason why it shouldn’t be more,” Saunders said.

    Saunders said he hopes that in the future more student entrepreneurs will apply for the contest and the contest sponsors will be able to raise more money to give to the winners.

    Next semester, the center for Entrepreneurship will hold the other of its competitions, the Business Plan Competition.

    Saunders said students wishing to participate should check the contest rules on the Center for Entrepreneurship Web site.

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