BYU student entrepreneurs among finalists

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    By Jennifer Ripplinger

    A year ago Mindwire Interactive was little more than a dream for three BYU students.

    Now these students are co-founders of a company with eight employees and clients like Novell and Humanvoice.

    Jeff Burningham, 24, majoring in communications studies, Jake Anderegg, 26, majoring in economics, graduated from BYU April 2001. Joshua Steimle, 25, plans to graduate in a year with a masters degree in information systems. These students are the co-founders of Mindwire Interactive.

    May 8 they participated in the Entrepreneur Challenge sponsored by the University of Utah. Mindwire Interactive was one of the 10 finalists of 250 entries.

    According to the Web site of the Entrepreneur Challenge ,www.utah.edu/uec/overview.htm, the purpose of this competition was to foster and promote business growth at the college and university level.

    This year”s competition took place in the Rice Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah. This is the second year the challenge has taken place.

    Nearly 250 applicants were considered for the Challenge this year, and the applicants were narrowed to 25 to 10 and finally to three finalists. Cash prizes of $40,000, $20,000 and $10,000 were awarded to the first, second and third place winners.

    This is not the first competition in which Mindwire Interactive has been involved. The company won the BYU Business Plan Competition on March 30, 2001.

    Hal Heaton, associate director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, said the Business Plan Competition is sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship, which began by donations from entrepreneurs.

    BYU students have the opportunity to present plans for the competition, and a group of faculty and local entrepreneurs pick 10-12 of these plans to be further considered, he said.

    A committee of venture capitalists and professionals along the Wasatch front then pick three finalists to present their business plans during the Founder”s Conference, Heaton said.

    The Founder”s Conference takes place twice a year during the spring and fall, coinciding with the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he said.

    At the Founder”s Conference visiting entrepreneurs choose the first, second and third place plans. Cash prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 are awarded to the winners.

    Mindwire Interactive was chosen as the first-place plan, Ezadit was chosen as second and Digital Illumination was chosen as the third.

    “We”re three BYU students and in the face of the market we”ve been able to succeed and grow,” said Burningham, vice president of Client Development for the Mindwire.

    Mindwire Interactive was first started by CEO Steimle, who approached co-founder Anderegg and then Burningham. The company was incorporated in August 2000.

    Mindwire Interactive is a web development shop and it also designs Web sites, conducts Internet consulting and participates in corporate identification work.

    More information about the company can be obtained through their Web site, www.mwi.com.

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