Each year, students from the University of Nevada, Reno compete for a chance to win $50,000 to help fund their innovative ideas. Out of the 25 teams that initially entered, and then 10 semifinalists competing in the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition this year, six were recently chosen as finalists. This Wednesday, April 24, 2019, one of them will take home the grand prize.
"The Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition has been truly a valuable experience," Sontag finalist and University computer science and engineering student Anurag Kulkarni, said. "To be able to network with like-minded individuals who are passionate about entrepreneurship has been rewarding. I'm thrilled for the opportunity to compete in the Sontag Finals and to have a positive societal impact on higher-level STEM tutoring within the U.S. and around the world with our Tutology platform."
Alumnus Rick Sontag created the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition with his $1 million gift to the University in 2011. The endowment created by the gift funds the award in perpetuity. The award is a single prize of $50,000, given at the end of each spring semester to the winner of the competition, which takes place throughout the academic school year.
"We are thrilled with the work these teams have put in this year and with the level these students are performing in the competition thus far," Richard Bartholet, Sontag Competition director, said. "Though this competition is housed in The College of Business, it really has become a University-wide contest as we had 48 students from 21 majors and seven colleges at the University fill out our ‘intent to compete' this year."
The six student-led team finalists are:
The Campus Refill Initiative, seeks to reduce plastic waste by providing students with alternatives to single-use plastic items. The business is a partnership between local zero-waste company Black Rock Refill and the Nevada Wolf Shop.
Team member: Samantha Romanick, cellular and molecular pharmacology, and physiology double major
Don'tDrive is a web-based ride request service that allows its users to request a ride arrangement for them and their car, offering users a new solution for getting individuals and/or their car home safely after a night out.
Team members: Tristen Houston, political science major, and Devin Kahl, economics major
Scratch'd Anchor Recycled Sail Bags offers a new take on recycled goods. It is a company that seeks to reuse old sailboat sails and recycle them into products like bags, wallets, and accessories.
Team members: Ryan Conner, business management major; Chaz Clark, business management major; Andrew Retallick, marketing major; Erik O'Sullivan, communications major; MBA student Rebecca Day and Ashley Breyer, business management major
Sturn Design manufactures and distributes four-season all terrain expedition vehicles. Each vehicle is equipped with a four person live-in cabin.
Team members: MBA student Nicolo Monforte and non-student Matt Linder
Tutology is a web-based platform dedicated to helping students connect with tutors at their University. Tutology will offer one-to-one and group tutor sessions while primarily focusing on STEM fields science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Team members: Anurag Kulkarnim, computer science and engineer major; Erik Miannay, computer science and engineer major and Kripash Shrestha, computer science and engineering major
Under Par Indoor Disc Golf Course seeks to create an indoor disc golf course here in Reno, Nevada. Because of Reno's climate, the wind can interfere with the sport so Under Par plans to combat this by bringing it indoors.
Team members: Rachel Willis, general studies student and MBA student Omar Ziadeh
For more information about the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition, visit https://www.unr.edu/sontag.