WSU hosts fourth business plan contest

The WSU College of Business is gearing up for the fourth annual WSU Business Plan Competition, to be held on the Pullman campus Dec. 1. There are 13 teams registered to participate in the competition this year, including a two-person team from the Tri-cities campus. More teams are expected to register before the competition starts.

The panel of judges is comprised of members of the business community, including entrepreneurs from successfully launched businesses, those who are currently participating in an innovative business and venture capitalists. Judges confirmed to date are Doug Cox, commercial loan officer, American West Bank; Lee Gibbs, commercial loan officer, Zion’s Bank; Brett Rogers, state director, Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC); Bill Skavdahl, assistant vice president, Washington Mutual Bank; Rich Smith, commercial loan officer, Bank of Whitman; Terry Chambers, business development specialist, Spokane SBDC; Joe Poire, executive director, Port of Whitman County; Fred Thompkins, consultant; Mark Wuotile, consultant; Vickie Olsen, owner, laPLANette; Terry Sparks, owner, Riley’s Reproductions & Printing; Carey Jonas, chief marketing officer, Local Escapes; and Mark Effinger, principle, Exitpath.

The judges will base their evaluations on the following criteria: the quality of the idea; the quality of the communication of the idea (written and oral); the likelihood of success of the plan; and demonstrated knowledge of the entrepreneurial process.

“The intent of this competition is to offer students learning experience,” said Joe Harris, business development specialist for the college’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “I have heard from many of the past participants that this was the best learning experience of their university career. The competition lets students see first-hand how all the business functions work together to make a successful business.”

The annual event gives students the opportunity to put their knowledge and education to the test, and may open doors to real-world business ventures in the future. Last year’s first place honors in the competition were awarded to graduate material science and engineering student Colin Merimann and MBA student Alisha Runolfson. They proposed a solution to multi-material welding through explosive bonding, a process by which metals are welded together through explosions.

For more information on the competition, visit or call (509) 335-2180.






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