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Eight teams of student entrepreneurs―including a team from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh that developed a political app―will compete June 10 for cash prizes and recognition in the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament, presented by WiSys.

The tournament brings together teams of university students from across the state to pitch innovative business ideas. The competition was established to extend the Wisconsin entrepreneurial ecosystem to University of Wisconsin students with the goal to improve the overall quality of business startup performance in the state.

UWO students, McDonald, majoring in political science, and Merrill, majoring in political science and anthropology, are developing an app called Prexo, that allows people to stay current on political happenings by sending users notifications when the president signs executive orders. It allows users to tailor their interest into the app to ensure quick and easy access to the president’s most powerful tool of the executive branch.

“The current president has used executive orders to secure funding for a border wall and attempted to regulate social media companies. Past presidents have used executive orders to ensure citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrant and pass through legislation without the approval of Congress,” McDonald explained. “Knowledge is power, and there is no other app that tracks executive orders. This is a niche we are trying to fill and ensure the public stays informed of all aspects of government.”

Virtual event

This year’s tournament, which will be conducted virtually because of the coronavirus crisis, will be broadcast on WiSys’ Facebook page and YouTube channel on June 10 at 6 p.m.

The first place team will win a $2,500 cash prize courtesy of Idea Fund of La Crosse. The second place team will receive a $1,500 cash prize, courtesy of gener8tor, and the third place team will receive a $500, courtesy of Charter Bank.

The participating teams won local feeder competitions or received an at-large bid:

         Didómi LLC: UW-River Falls students Lamah Bility and Anaa Jibicho want to sell fashionable, reusable water bottles and donate a portion of the profits to combating the water crisis in developing countries.
         G-Pods: The business idea of UW-Green Bay’s Logan Holbrook and Katelyn Desrochers is for a hearing-aid with sensors to monitor the user’s health data and call for help in the case of an emergency.
         Lëvor: The organic hair care company, presented by UW-Milwaukee’s Loren Nelson and Johnathan Brown, aims to desegregate the haircare industry by providing hair care for all hair types.
         Local2You LLC: UW-Green Bay’s Noah Redfearn, Emily Walczak and Madeline Yoss want to create an online service to connect local entrepreneurs and inventors to virtual market.
       Prexo: McDonald and Merrill of UW Oshkosh are developing a political app to allow users to easily track presidential executive orders.
         Spark Convos LLC: UW-Eau Claire’s Mary Cait McManamon’s online business is committed to sparking in-person connections by selling apparel that inspires conversations.
         20 Credit Studios: UW-Stout’s Justin Bryant and Katelyn Zenz want to make fun games for a wide audience by developing a close feedback relationship with consumers.
        3C: Sydney Gille, Brett Nimz and Joe Doro of UW-Green Bay are creating an online platform to connect volunteers with charities that need help completing social good projects.

WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students and alumni of the UW System to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.

This year’s Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament is sponsored by Charter Bank, gener8tor, Idea Fund of La Crosse, Market & Johnson, UW System, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Xcel Energy.

Learn more about the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament at