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Web-based Plastics Marketplace Plan Wins UW $10K Entrepreneurship Competition

April 1, 2009

A four-person team's plan to develop a Web-based market place for unused and reusable plastics won $10,000 in an annual student entrepreneurship competition at the University of Wyoming.

The business, United Plastics, was the top entry of the UW College of Business' $10K Entrepreneurship Competition that is designed to encourage UW students to act on their talents, ideas and energy to produce tomorrow's leading businesses. The competition awards $10,000 to a team of student entrepreneurs that submits a business plan for a new venture showing significant business potential. Both graduate and undergraduate students from all UW colleges can enter the competition.

The winning team members are MBA candidates Rene Alber, originally from Germany; Keegan Delaney, Jackson; Michael Shirley, Evanston; and Laramie's P.J. Shumway.

Their business plan for United Plastics is a Web-based marketplace that facilitates the redistribution of plastics. The marketplace establishes values for unused and reusable plastic composites.

"It's an effective way to set a price on plastics and bring buyers and sellers together in one place," Shumway says. He says the team worked with a Laramie business, IDES -- a developer of a Web-based plastics materials database -- on the project. The company provided them with data sheets that will help jumpstart their business, Shumway says.

"The people at IDES were going forward with this project and they just did not have the people to help out," he says. "Keegan is the one who came up with the business plan."

As the winning team, United Plastics team members will be offered a one-year, rent-free opportunity to build their business in the Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC), a technology-related business incubator that assists Wyoming entrepreneurs.

The WTBC started in 2005 to encourage the growth and development of high-growth companies throughout Wyoming. The WTBC operates a 30,000-square foot technology business incubator at UW. The incubator program includes laboratory, datacenter and office space along with administrative support and business and management advice.

"We look forward to working with the WTBC because they have a good professional staff that we can tap into a wealth of knowledge," Shumway says.

The $10K competition also awarded prizes for the five finalists in the recent competition.

The runner-up was Dinner Maid Simple, a service that provides complete meal planning and preparation needs catered to families. It is a semimonthly service that provides a two-week planned dinner menu, complete with easy-to-follow recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. This service also includes grocery shopping. Cortney Thoren, a business management senior from Lander, created the business plan.

Third place went to Sensor Technologies, a blade wear measurement system that tracks the amount of wear on snowplow blades. Leading the project were Russian-born business administration student Yekaterina Minaicheva from Fort Collins, Colo., and Shipra Mehta from India, who received her MBA degree from UW and is now working toward an M.S. degree in finance.

Olympus Mons Gear, an apparel company dedicated to providing extreme sports enthusiasts with apparel created to withstand and endure the intense conditions encountered while participating in various specialty sports, was awarded "Best Presentation." Team members were Chris Askin, Casper, a UW architectural engineering graduate who is now an MBA student in the College of Business; Tyler Gentry, an outdoor-related business store manager in Greeley, Colo., who received his business administration degree (1996) from UW; Katelyn Johnson, textiles and merchandising, Sidney, Neb.; and Amanda Pohja, a current MBA student from Colorado Springs, Colo.

The "Most Creative Plan" award was given to Region Careers, a Web-based business designed to bring together employers and job seekers. Chris Cyr, a business administration major/entrepreneurship minor student from Littleton, Colo., and Alexander Landt, marketing and management, Ocala, Fla., developed the business plan.

Carl and Marcia Lee, the Woodson Family Foundation, First Interstate BancSystem Foundation, Venture West and the Wyoming Technology Business Center sponsor the $10K competition.

For more information on the competition, visit or contact Rachel Stevens at (307) 766-3124 or

Young Entrepreneurs -- Members of the winning team in the University of Wyoming College of Business $10K Entrepreneurship Competition are MBA candidates from left, Michael Shirley, Evanston; Rene Alber, originally from Germany; Keegan Delaney, Jackson; and Laramie's P.J. Shumway. Their business plan for United Plastics, a web-based marketplace that facilitates the redistribution of unused and reusable plastic composites. (UW Photo)

Posted on Wednesday, April 01, 2009


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