WASHINGTON – The George Washington University student-led team Sensamir won the $35,000 first place prize in seed money for their entrepreneurial business plan to patent a safe, zero-calorie supplement designed to enhance taste recognition in cancer patients who suffer from chemotherapy and radiation therapy induced taste alterations.
“Winning this competition means everything to us,” said Rehan S. Quadri, GW medical student and chief executive officer and director of operations for Sensamir. “The prize money will be reinvested, allowing us to take our business to the next level, purchasing the patent application, paying labs and reaching our goal of taking Sensamir to trails – this is truly remarkable.”
Sensamir edged out nine other finalists to take the first-place prize. Other winners include BitGrid, who won the $15,000 second-place prize for their plan to offer software solutions to build smarter power grids and manage them more efficiently; Yapper who won the $8,000 third-place prize for their plan to change the way people and businesses interact in the ‘here and now’ with their hyper-local messaging app and Small Spacecraft Micropropulsion who won the $5,000 fourth-place prize for their plan to provide low power and low mass electric propulsion solutions for small satellites. A complete list of winners is available upon request.
Two new prizes in this year’s competition focus on social entrepreneurship. Common Sense Action won Best Non-Profit for its plan to create a grassroots, bipartisan organization that will build a movement of millennial voters and bring a younger generation to the policymaking table. Pedal Forward won Best For-Profit Social Venture for its plan to create sustainable solutions for ill health and poverty through the manufacturing, sales and use of bamboo bicycles.
These prizes reflect GW’s dedication to student entrepreneurs passionate about creating effective solutions to pressing social and environmental problems, part of an initiative by the university’s new GWupstart Social Innovation Lab based in GW’s Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service. The new social entrepreneurship track is part of GW’s Commitment to Action as part of its membership to the Clinton Global Initiative.
“It seems that the entrepreneurial spirit is sweeping the George Washington campus with 113 teams from all 10 schools competing,” said John Rollins, director of the GW Business Plan Competition. “Since I founded the competition six years ago, it has grown each year and now offers more than $130,000 in prizes. This puts GW in the top 10 largest university business plan competitions in the country.”
The GW Business Plan Competition is an annual celebration of innovation presented by the GW School of Business. The 10 student-led companies that reached the finals were assessed on their company’s presentation and viability in the marketplace. The judges rated the market opportunity, distinctive competence, management capability, financial understanding, investment potential, the sequence and logic of the presentation, enthusiasm and persuasiveness and the quality of the visuals.
The students presented their business plans to a panel of distinguished business leaders including Clifford M. Kendall, former chairman and CEO of Computer Data Systems, Inc. (CDSI); Terrell McCombs, senior managing partner and chairman of the Advisory Committee of McCombs Enterprises; Scott Rechler, director and CEO of LearnServe International; Ann Scott, former first lady of Florida; Peter Weissman, partner at Blank Rome LLP; Omar Woodard, former GW Board of Trustees member and principal at Venture Philanthropy Partners; and Andrew D. Zacharias, CFA, principal at LKCM Private Discipline Management, LP and LKCM Headwater Investments GP.
The George Washington University School of Business
GW’s School of Business is an international leader in education and research, which prides itself on training future leaders to be global problem solvers and socially responsible managers. The school leverages its prime location—in the heart of Washington—by attracting visiting scholars and leaders in the business community to work, teach and engage with students on campus. The depth and variety of its academic and professional programs, including five specialized master’s programs, provide rich opportunities for academic engagement and career development for students in the school’s core Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration and doctoral programs.
The 2014 George Washington University Business Plan Competition was sponsored by Annette and Richard Scott, Capital One, Luther King Capital Management, Blank Rome, LLP, AARP Foundation, Deloitte, Brazen Careerist, WeWork, Affinity Lab, AdvantEdge, iStrategyLabs, In The Capital, Event Rentals DC and more than 10 schools and departments at GW.