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UW Students Present Business Plans in $30K Entrepreneurship Competition Friday

April 9, 2013

University of Wyoming students will present a wide range of business plans Friday, April 12, in the John P. Ellbogen $30K Entrepreneurship Competition at the College of Business Building.

The competition begins at 9 a.m. in Room 123. Awards will be presented at 1:30 p.m.

The competition encourages students to act on their talents, ideas and energy to produce tomorrow's leading businesses. The $30K competition awards cash prizes to outstanding teams of student entrepreneurs who submit their business plans for new ventures that show significant business potential.

UW undergraduates and graduate students are encouraged to enter the competition. Teams that combine members from various academic disciplines also are encouraged to compete. The John P. Ellbogen $30K Entrepreneurship Competition was known as the UW 10K Competition until 2011.

For more information about the competition, visit the website at or contact Rachel Stevens in the College of Business Department of Management and Marketing at (307) 766-3124 or e-mail

Listed are the finalists, businesses and times of student presentations:

9:10 a.m. -- Rho Zero Fermentation researches, develops and markets enhancements to yeast that improve the efficiency of fermentation. Enhancements are genetic modifications that subvert the yeast’s normal energy use and prevent consumption of the economically valuable end products.

Modifications are directly applicable to industrial ethanol production and have been shown to increase ethanol output without placing new demands on the production line. They also can be adapted to the expanding high-value fermentation markets, which produce varied chemical products that can be used in industries as diverse as plastics and food additives.

Elizabeth Hiatt, a molecular biology graduate student from Rawlins, is the team leader. She is assisted by UW professors Peter and Mary Thorsness and Brian Francis.

9:50 a.m. -- Pollution Control Technologies, LLC sells mercury and other pollutant control systems for coal-fired power plants and industrial boilers. The main advantage of these systems is the capability of on-site and on-demand production of highly efficient materials for pollution control while using raw materials available at these facilities. This reduces current associated operating costs by up to 50 percent compared to existing technologies.

With on-site production of the materials, substantial savings in transportation costs are to be expected, and additional advantages, such as versatility in the production, can be offered to customers. Systems can be built to fit the specific needs of clients.

Rodolfo Monterrozo, a chemical engineering student from Guatemala, is the team leader. He is assisted by Kaspars Krutkramelis, a UW chemical and petroleum engineering doctoral degree candidate.

10:30 a.m. -- is an online retail business that specializes in accessories and apparel related to the booming electronic dance music (EDM) industry. For people who attend EDM concerts and raves, Rave Nation provides hundreds of unique and rare products including clothing, lighted gloves, goggles and a variety of other specialized apparel.

Rave Nation’s customers can customize their items, which allows them to express their unique personalities. The company is committed to becoming one of the largest suppliers of rave products by relying on specific online marketing strategies, continuing to source rare products, and providing quick response times.

The team leader is Shawheen Amirkhizi, an accounting junior from Evanston.

11:10 a.m. -- The goal of Eos LABs (Light-Activated Biosystems) is to engineer and commercialize light-regulatable systems for biomedical research and medicine. Light has numerous advantages as a means to control biological systems. It can be applied with high spatial and temporal resolution, unachievable by chemicals, and has no side effects.

Near-infrared (NIR) light penetrates animal tissue to a depth of several centimeters and can be used in the medical treatment of patients without surgical procedures. Eos LABS targets two market niches: novel molecular tools for research in animal disease models, and treatment of a variety of genetic diseases that invovle gene and stem cell therapies.

Gavin Lawlis, a molecular biology graduate student from Laramie, is the team leader. He is assisted by UW Professor Mark Gomelsky and UW doctoral candidate Min-Hyung Ryu.

11:50 a.m. -- Ky [E]nterprise & Logistics is a collaborated marketing system that connects producers and consumers of hay and forage commodities. It combines an integrated system of both traditional and value-added hay products. This is achieved with the help of an industrial hay compressor station that further compacts hay/forage bales into more dense packages, which are then shipped by railroad for both national and international consumption.

The cost of logistics keeps Wyoming producers from receiving higher prices due to the distance between producer and the consumers. This marketing approach, combined with an industrial hay compressor, will allow farmers to receive 10-20 percent higher prices on average for their hay/forage.

Kyle Thoman, an agricultural business junior from Riverton, is the sole founder of the company.

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