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The Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) announced the eight finalists who will be presenting at the upcoming Culver’s Business Model Contest which will be held Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. 

Each team is given four minutes to present their ideas to an elite panel of hand-selected judges from across the state in this Shark Tank-like event.

 The 5th annual event will be held from 6 until 8 p.m. at the UW Oshkosh College of Business Sage Hall, room 1214. Winners will be awarded at the end of the event. All who attend will get free pizza and Culver’s custard.

CEI director Jordan Rhodes is excited about the judges and audience to meet the presenters and learn more about their ideas.

“This years group of contestants is our most diverse group yet. We really have an even blend of app ideas, services and products that cover all categories. What’s even more exciting are the types of students presenting. This year we are welcoming the largest number of women competing in our competition along with a variety undergraduates and graduates from diverse majors,” said Rhodes.
Following are the student contestants and their business ideas:
  • Dayne Rusch, a senior from Two Rivers majoring in finance, is pitching Pyxsee a mobile app to manage social media usage.
  • Shawn Erickson, a junior from Marinette majoring in finance, is pitching Nirsis a mobile app for on-demand at home nursing care.
  • Jon Bedell, a junior from Naperville, Illinois, majoring in finance, is pitching Pura Vita an at home aquaponics system.
  • Alex Burmester, a first-year student from Deforest studying business, is pitching Wildin Clothing an eCommerce clothing store that donates part of sales to environmental causes.
  • Madeline Vasseau, a senior from DePere majoring in human services leadership, is pitching Lucky 7 Dog Rescue, a business that rescues and rehomes animals
  • Justin Wiechman, a junior from Fond du Lac majoring in interactive web management and journalism, is pitching Winnebago Royal Marketing, a digital marketing company.
  • Eric Riggers, a graduate student from Appleton, is pitching Reinvent Ferment which produces fermented fruit and vegetable products.
  • Rebecca Timmins, a graduate student from Menasha, is pitching a resource for children with autism for the Oshkosh Autism Center.


The expert panel of judges of this event includes Neil Mix, president of Quadrant; David Trotter, director of the Winnebago Seed Fund; Rollie Stephenson, founder of Faith Technologies; Adrienne Palmer, director of G-Beta NE Wisconsin; and Eric Hoopman owner of The Grind Co-Working Space and founder of DealerFire.

Contestants will have four minutes for a presentation and two minutes of question/answer with the judges before winners are announced. First place will be awarded $18,600 in cash and in-kind services, second place receives $14,500 in cash and in-kind services and third place receives $7,900 in cash and in-kind services.

The CEI is located within Sage Hall and exists to provide students with business consulting services, opportunities to participate in several business idea contests throughout the year, a 12-week accelerator program that helps students turn their ideas into actual companies and a summer incubator program that allows for select teams to focus on the growth of their businesses.
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