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Kem Krest Entrepreneurship Competition

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Six IU South Bend business students recently won the inaugural Kem Krest Entrepreneurship Competition. Three graduate and undergraduates were honored for their business plans for a startup company.

The three graduate students and proposed companies are: Toni Banday, of South Bend, Casa dei Bambini, a proposed Montessori center; David Hammang, of South Bend, Midwest Sky Taxi, a regional air taxi operation within 500 miles of Elkhart Municipal Airport; and Ted Pokorski, of Berrien Springs, Commodity Risk Solutions, a consulting firm for small to medium businesses.

The three undergraduate winners are and proposed companies are: Sebastian Schramm, of Germany; Sebastian’s German Bakery, a medium-sized bakery based on traditional German recipes; Staci Ball, of Elkhart, Edible Arrangements, fresh fruit arrangements; and Katie Gardini, of South Bend, Pocketfold Invitations, uniquely designed and folded invitations.

The prize awards for the graduate students were: Banday, $469; Hammang, $356, and Pokorski, $175. The undergraduate prizes were: Schramm, $397; Ball, $336, and Gardini $267.

The prize money allocation was based on the judges’ scores. 

The sponsoring business, Kem Krest, is an Elkhart based supply chain management company.

The judges were Michael Kubacki of Lake City Bank, Charles Mitchell of Polygon, John Regan of Fabric Services and David Weaver of Kem Krest.

Professor Mark Fox said most of the projects included an evaluation of market potential, marketing strategies and an assessment of financial needs and financial projections.

“The first year for the competition went well. Most of the entries were from the entrepreneurship classes and the professors (Christine Pochert Ringle and Staci Lugar Brettin) who taught those classes did an impressive job in teaching students how to prepare feasibility studies and business plans,” Fox said.

“We were fortunate to have the support of Amish Shah, the president of Kem Krest. He is keen to encourage the entrepreneurial initiative of our students,” Fox said.

Fox continued that business and economics will expand the scope of the competition for the upcoming school year.  “We hope to get entries from students outside the School of Business and Economics who have business concepts that they want to develop.  We will also see more projects from our marketing and business strategy students – who often help local businesses with marketing research or strategic plans. As part of the development of the competition we will create a group of advisors to help students with specialized advice as they develop business proposals - or as they need further advice to implement the projects they have submitted for the competition.”