Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 24, 2008

Whitworth Senior Biz Whiz Wins First Place in Hogan Business-Plan Competition

Whitworth's Krochet Kids International team, a finalist in the Hogan competition, advances to "Sweet Sixteen" round of the University of Washington's business-plan competition

Whitworth senior Tim Coughlin won the top monetary prize in the 2007-08 Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program Business Plan Competition. Coughlin, a business management and marketing double major, won $10,000 for his BuySellFix plan for a firm that repairs handheld devices. Gonzaga University presents the annual business-plan competition in collaboration with Whitworth's School of Global Commerce & Management and Eastern Washington University's Center for Entrepreneurial Activities. The event is the largest of its kind in the Inland Northwest and is open to graduate and undergraduate students from Whitworth, Gonzaga, EWU and Washington State University.

In addition to Coughlin's success in the Hogan competition, for the first time ever a Whitworth team has advanced to the "Sweet Sixteen" round of the University of Washington's Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition. Krochet Kids International, which was a finalist in the Hogan competition, pitched its business plan on April 23 to entrepreneurs judging the UW competition's investment round and was among 16 teams selected from 34 competitors to advance to the third round.

Krochet Kids International is an existing business that employs African women who make crocheted hats and accessories for import to the U.S. Whitworth seniors Travis Hartanov and Leah Hartanov are part of a global management team comprising students from several universities. In the third round Whitworth's team, coached by Sanchez, will compete against teams from the UW and Seattle University. Finalists and winners of the UW competition will be announced May 22.

In this year's Hogan competition, more than 90 teams submitted plans in three project categories: community-based, social-enterprise and student-generated. Whitworth entered nine teams in the social-enterprise and student-generated categories; of the 12 finalists selected across these two categories, six teams were from Whitworth, five were from Gonzaga, and one was from WSU. The finalists gave oral presentations on Friday, April 18, and winners were announced that evening at an awards ceremony held at Eastern Washington University's Riverpointe campus, in Spokane.

"The business-plan competition provides students with the 'process' or practical part of everything we teach in the School of Global Commerce & Management," says Terry Sanchez, Whitworth business-plan competition advisor and adjunct professor of management. "It allows students to leave academia with a real sense of what is expected of them in the business world. Most students say of the experience that they have never worked as hard and have had no greater reward, and employers tell us that business-planning experience in potential employees is highly valued."

Coughlin won first place in the Hogan competition's student-generated category. Below are the other five Whitworth teams that were named finalists in their categories:

  • Student-generated category: Whitsavers: an online discount-coupon business providing marketing opportunities to local businesses that are trying to reach college-age students. Team: Derek Higgins, Sean Thompson, Evan Hanson, Jordan Carter and Luke Fletcher. Care Culture: an elder-care facility that provides care for the aging, while providing certification and training for its staff. Team: James Bennett and Daryl Rodrigues. Mud Puddle: a recording studio with a coffee-shop venue that provides recording services for local musicians, a stage for their work, and coffee/espresso. Team: Ryan Brown, Michael Jordan and Shane Stonemetz.

  • Social-enterprise category: Krochet Kids International (see above). Team: Travis Hartanov and Leah Hartanov.  AVEDA: a Russian cultural training center providing Russian/English language and culture training. Team: Vitaliia Vasylenko, Lindsay Dalby, Nadine Nettekoven and Mark Baker.

The plans submitted to the Hogan competition were judged by an independent panel of reviewers from companies including US Bank, Haskins Steel Company, Inc., Intel Corporation, Banner Bank and SIRTI. The plans were judged based on criteria including quality and market viability/fundability of the product or service idea or the nonprofit idea; the quality, accuracy, and persuasiveness of the executive summary; the quality of the business plan itself, and, for finalists the quality of the oral presentation.  Oral presentations counted toward 30 percent of the final scoring.

Faculty members from the Whitworth School of Global Commerce & Management assisted the teams by providing academic and practical insight in areas including marketing, finance, e-commerce, legal issues and patents. In addition, the following Whitworth faculty and administrators represented Whitworth on the Hogan competition management team: Terry Sanchez; Elsa Distelhorst, director of development for major gifts; and Jo Ann Nielsen, associate director, Entrepreneurship/Micro-Enterprise Services, School of Global Commerce & Management.

Major funding for the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program Business Plan Competition was provided by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, Telect, Itron and Avista Corp.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Jo Ann Nielsen, associate director, Entrepreneurship/Micro-Enterprise Services,
Herbert B. Jones grant, School of Global Commerce & Management, Whitworth University, 509-777-3242 or joannnielsen@whitworth.edu.

Terry Sanchez, business-plan competition advisor and adjunct faculty member, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4419 or csanchez@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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