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April 23, 2009
By Skyler Dillon
University of Nevada, Reno students have been getting an up close and personal look at the world of business this semester that is culminating in the Governor's Cup final competition and awards ceremony April 22-23.
The Governor's Cup is an annual competition among students from all Nevada colleges and universities to create the best business plan. Students submitted proposals in mid-March, and finalists were announced in April. A record thirteen out of eighteen finalist entries in the Governor's Cup and the Lt. Governor's Cup, which recognizes the business plan that best employs clean, renewable or efficient energy technologies and services, are from the University of Nevada, Reno this year.
On Wednesday, the finalists gave their final oral presentations for the judges, and the competition winners will be announced Thursday at an awards banquet at the Peppermill Hotel Casino. First prize is $20,000; second is $10,000; and third is $5,000.
Many successful entries combined students from technical majors, such as engineering, with students from the College of Business to create well-rounded teams and better-balanced proposals. The business plans market everything from solar-collecting lenses that aid in household heating to educational video games and culinary tours.
University of Nevada, Reno professor Yantao Shen, faculty advisor to team "Appliance 2.0 Solutions," said the success of his students can be attributed to their own determination and hard work, as well as support from University instructors.
"UNR faculty, especially [Electrical Engineering Department Chair] Nelson Publicover, have really helped our group along," he said, "but the students motivate themselves."
Shen said that his team, which developed a system to help electrical energy providers and customers use energy more efficiently, enjoyed the creative aspects of the competition.
"The hardest part is coming up with a unique idea," he said. "Once they found one that they knew would be successful, they had a lot of fun."
Shen encouraged his students to set up their team like a real company by designating positions such as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer. Each team member brought different experience and information to the table.
"No one person had all of the talents that we needed," he said. "What made the project a success is being able to combine the talents of everyone involved."