SnackLite Healthy Vending was the top winner among five groups of entrepreneurs that pitched their business ideas on Friday to a panel of judges in Kennesaw State University’s Spring Concept-2-Reality Competition, during which they vied for $1,000 to launch their companies.
The competition, developed by KSU professor Dr. Charles Hofer, is in its fifth year. The prize money is funded by go
SmallBiz.com, a company founded by Fran Tarkenton. KSU hosts two competitions a year where a minimum of five finalists are selected for final presentations.
“I started the C2R Competition to help stimulate business creation at KSU,” said Hofer, KSU’s first and only Regents Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship. “When I came, KSU did not have the continuous flow of new technical ideas that I had to work with when I was teaching at the University of Georgia.”
Hofer is the first Regents Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship in the University System of Georgia.
He said 17 of the previous 62 finalists have started their businesses and another 29 are in the process of doing so.
To enter, participants prepare a one-page “elevator pitch” description of their concept. From the entrants, 25 or more semi-finalists are selected and asked to prepare a 3-page executive summary of their idea before the finalists are selected to present at the competition.
Aside from SnackLite Healthy Vending, the other four finalists were second-place winner Parents & Coaches, a training program that offers parents tools to enhance the financial education of their children; PoP Tile Company, which makes mosaic tile tables featuring emblems; Media-in-the-Metro, a nonprofit that teaches inner-city youth audio and video production skills; and Legacy Creations, which produces digital recordings of life stories.
“I came up with the concept to film the elderly population eight years ago,” said finalist Amie Flanagan of Legacy Creations. “I delivered medication to hospice patients. I got to know many people before they passed. It made me sad that some had grandkids that would never know their family.”
Parents & Coaches earned $500 for their second-place win.
Brothers and KSU recent graduates Luis and Juan Fuentes, creators of the SnackLite Healthy Vending concept, competed last year but did not make it to the final round. However, their experience led to an opportunity to run a beta vending test with the students of KSU. The healthier snack options were a success, so they came back this year to show how far they have come.
“We are back to show everything SnackLite has to offer, along with our story of how we took our concept and turned it into reality,” Luis Fuentes said.