Three OSU teams make Governor’s Cup finals

by Ariel West 
(March 31, 2016 at 12:18 pm)

The School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University has three teams in the High Growth division finals of Innovation to Enterprise’s statewide Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Competition.

The OSU finalists are: Haley Kurtz and Kevin Keith with MITO Material Solutions, coached by Richard Gajan, Thoma Family clinical assistant professor of OSU’s School of Entrepreneurship; Rhyder Robison, Eliot Bush and Santosh Padakanti with Volunteer Me, coached by David Thomison, clinical assistant professor of OSU’s School of Entrepreneurship and George Kaiser Family Foundation endowed chair, and Gabriel Bahr, Sourabh Biswas and Samyukta Koteeswaran with WoodPro, also coached by Gajan.

MITO has developed a cost-effective nano-filler additive that can toughen fiber-reinforced composite structures using an organic polymer formula.

“Thanks to the support we have received from the OSU Entrepreneurship and Material Science departments, our team is one step closer to fully commercializing our technology,” Kurtz said. “We are very excited about participating in the 2016 Governor’s Cup and wish the best to the other OSU ventures.”

Volunteer Me aids private school administrations in recruiting, tracking, coordinating and verifying volunteer services through their student bodies.

“To go through such a competitive process and receive feedback from industry leaders in an amazing opportunity to move forward with our entrepreneurial dreams,” Robison said. “This competition was a great learning experience.”

WoodPro has developed a sustainable, durable and long-lasting new wood composite, using red cedar sawdust and epoxy resin, which outlasts current market concepts.

“Our team is very excited to be a part of the Governor’s Cup,” Bahr said. “We have spent countless hours on and off campus to put our business plan together. Our team’s knowledge has grown a lot over the past few months alone. With this future competition looming, we plan to put out a great business plan and future product down the road.”

The final competition consists of a 20-minute investor presentation about each team’s business opportunity and will occur April 7-8 at i2E in Oklahoma City. The winners will be announced at the Governor’s Cup awards dinner at 5 p.m. April 14 at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City.

“The Governor’s Cup is a very competitive state-wide competition and we are thrilled to be involved,” Gajan said. “I’m very proud of the hard work our students performed and the progress they have made.”

OSU has had past success in the Governor’s Cup. Student startup Roll-to-Roll Technologies won second place in the High Growth Division in 2013, and other cash-award category winners include Infinite Composites and Medishine.

Innovation to Enterprise (i2E) is a nationally recognized, private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1998 and focuses on growing innovative small businesses in Oklahoma. Its mission is investing in entrepreneurs to build successful high-growth companies in Oklahoma and making a positive impact on the state’s economy.

The Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup is a statewide collegiate business plan competition that simulates the real world process of researching a market, writing a business plan and making a presentation to potential investors. In the 11-year history of the competition, $1.5 million in cash, $80,000 in scholarships and $221,000 in fellowships have been awarded, and more than 1500 college students from 31 statewide campuses have participated.

For more information about i2E and the Governor’s Cup, visit http://i2e.org/gov-cup/.