Monday 11, 2009
            MARQUETTE, Mich.—Alysa Diebolt, a sophomore marketing major from Rock, Mich., won first prize in the second annual New Business Venture Competition at Northern Michigan University. She earned $4,000 for her business, M@M (pronounced "madam"), which designs, produces and sells home-decorating and furnishing products made from fusing glass. Diebolt also won the 60-second elevator pitch and best trade fair display.

Christina Brazinski, a graduate elementary education student from Lisle, Ill., won second place and $2,500 for her proposal, Hand Struck, a venture to design and sell a line of handmade clothes for winter weather wear. Brittney Alden, a senior entrepreneurship major from Lansing, won the third prize of $1,500 for her business idea "Cool Cakes," making and selling ice-cream cakes.

The two remaining finalists, from more than two dozen business plans submitted in the competition, were William Beacom, a freshman from Midland, Mich., who proposed an import business to distribute soft drinks from Scotland; and Justin Carlson, a freshman from Ishpeming, Mich., who proposed a business to provide environmentally sensitive lawn care service.

The New Business Venture Competition is designed to encourage entrepreneurial activism among students. It recognizes and rewards those who present detailed plans for designing and creating new business enterprises, drawing on their own ideas and inventions or those others.  

Prizes for this year's competition were provided by NMU alumnus Peter Reijula and his wife, Susan, NMU alumni Ervin Kranberg and Douglas Menzies, and Northern Michigan Bank. The judges were Terrance Dehring, president of Quick Trophy; John Hust, CEO of Shelter Bay Tomato Co.; Robert Jacquart, president of Jacquart Fabric Products; Robert Martin, executive vice president of Range Bank; and Eric St. Germain, president of Summit Capital Finance, LLC.  They reviewed the written business plans and scored the contestants on their trade fair display, elevator pitch and oral presentation of their business ideas.

Kristi Evans
News Director