By Alicia Thompson
The Marriott School”s Center for Entrepreneurship hosts an Entrepreneur of the Year contest each fall semester recognizing students and the businesses they have created.
The contest first began in 1992 with Richard M. Knapp as the winner. Knapp created the well-known business of University Properties, Inc., & Affiliates.
As an undergraduate in 1987 Knapp began his entrepreneurial venture with just one condo. He continued with small investments with student housing. Today he has built a company that oversees the management of 1,424 apartments units in three states.
The contest has recognized successful individuals over the years. In the past six years winners include: Jonathan Freedman in 1997 for Down East Outfitters, Chad Christofferson in 1998 for SafeHome Security Systems, Jonathan Day in 1999 for Afroman Productions, Nathan Murray in 2000 for Nutty Guys, Brandt Anderson in 2001 for uSight, and David Bateman in 2002 for DearElder.com.
The 2002-03 winner David Bateman was rewarded for his ingenuity with $10,000 in cash prizes, a trip to Hawaii, including trophies and certificates.
The contest is based on nominations done by students within the business program. An application is filled out to nominate either yourself or someone eligible for the contest.
Nominees are chosen and then judged five distinguishing factors.
- Is the business an entrepreneurial business and not just a small business? Also, does business provide a job for the student and have the ability to grow.
- Does the business solve a real problem or is there a void in the marketplace for this type of business? The business cannot be just an idea the student is in love with, it has to fill a niche.
- Does the business have any barriers? Is the business venture easily accessible to any individual with a business license?
- Is there a regional potential marketplace? Even is there a national and international potential for the product or services. The business has to pertain to large areas, not just locally.
- Are the numbers working or going to work? Is the business strong enough to pay salaries, and all other expenses of a company yet still bring in profits? The business has to be able to grow.
It has not only been the past few years that have produced successful entrepreneurs such as David Bateman. The Contest has been recognizing deserving entrepreneurs since the very first contest.