Student visionaries from across Oklahoma competed in the 2021 Love’s Entrepreneur Cup, resulting in first and second place wins for Edmond’s UCO student entrepreneur teams.
Fifty teams originally submitted various concepts to the competition that ranged from high-tech futuristic solutions to answers to real-world problems.
UCO Team Amidad claimed a $10,000 cash prize for first place in the Small Business Division with its app-based concept providing undocumented immigrants and refugees with resources and information on legal rights. Amidad team leader Esther Velasco led team members Sofia Arenas, Nichole Burroughs, and Ashley Guerrero to first place with advisors Amy Johnson and McKenna Sanderson.
Hamkke, another team from the University of Central Oklahoma, claimed second place in the Small Business Division. Hamkke team Leader Nhi Pham led team members Emily Falls and Marissa Perez to second with advisors Amy Johnson and McKenna Sanderson.
A third team from UCO, Pick Pro, won second place in the High Growth Graduate Division as well as the title of Interview Winner in the High Growth Manufacturing, Material Sciences, and Transportation category, sponsored by the Oklahoma Business Roundtable. The team’s concept was a patented light-duty electric cargo vehicle that reduces time and expense for shipping fulfillment centers by enhancing productivity. Pick Pro team leader Ruth Davis led team members Drake Cartwright, Mattie England, and Mark Steele with advisor Maurice Haff.
Among UCO’s honorable mentions are Team Empowering Natives named Interview Winner in the Small Business Product category and Regan McCarthick, team member of UCO’s Pristine Clean, winner of Undergraduate Division Pitch Winner.
With those honoring the teams was i2E CEO Scott Meacham who closed the winning ceremony with remarks on the achievements of the students and acknowledgement of Oklahoma business pioneers.
“Although these students are taking their first steps down the entrepreneur’s path, I’m impressed by both the innovation and level of sophistication of their concepts,” Meacham said. “I’m certain that we will see many of these students use this valuable learning opportunity as a springboard to successful careers as Oklahoma entrepreneurs and business leaders.”
Among the UCO teams, some other wins include Team Swift and Sweet Events from East Central University with third place in the Small Business Division, BioSeal XE from Oklahoma State University with its first-place cash award of $20,000 in this year’s High Growth Graduate Division, and Team Daedalus Droneworks from the University of Oklahoma with its first-place prize of $20,000 in the High Growth Undergraduate Division. University of Oklahoma teams swept the Undergraduate Division with Team Simply Sorority named second-place winner, while team Overlook claimed third place. Team AGnosis from Oklahoma Christian University was named Interview winner in the IT/App category.
The teams submitted a written business portion, which preceded an interview in February. Teams were recognized in a Facebook Live presentation on April 22. This year marks year 17 of the competition!
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About Taelor Connell
Taelor currently works at Polston Tax in business development and is originally from the Edmond/OKC metro area. She is passionate about building genuine relationships with connections she meets in her career and creating lasting friendships in her affiliated organizations. Taelor has experience in public relations, journalism, digital marketing, community outreach and is always working to expand her knowledge. She values the team-oriented mindset and support from those in her sphere of influence and works to add value to others where she can. Taelor is a community advocate and volunteers with local organizations and boards in the OKC metro area. When not at work, Taelor can be found reading a book or spending time with family and friends.