News • April 03, 2023

CBU student entrepreneurs win thousands in business plan competition

CBU student entrepreneurs win thousands in business plan competition

Riverside, Calif. (April 3, 2023) – As a water polo player, Melissa Quon, an entrepreneurship junior at California Baptist University, knows that concussions are a concern for players. Although she has not received one, she has suffered hits by the ball. So Quon teamed up with Emily Dagel, a mechanical engineering junior, to create The Honeycomb — a neoprene cap that women water polo players can wear under their main caps.

“It’s basically something that can reduce the chances [of concussions] for water polo players to play to their best abilities,” Quon said. “Concussions right now are one of the biggest problems around the field for physical sports players because it can happen with any action.”

Quon and Dagel entered their business idea into the Sixth Annual Bob Goodrich Business Plan Competition hosted by the Dr. Robert K. Jabs School of Business. After submitting a business plan for their product, Quon and Dagel presented their idea to judges in a fast-pitch competition on March 20. Six teams made up of 17 students made their pitch to the judges, who included people from nonprofit and city government agencies.

“I think it’s a wonderful competition where students get to interact with real-life business solutions,” said Lynda Bailey, executive director of Riverside Medical Clinic's charitable organization and a judge. “I think the creativity that they have for products that we will need in the future is outstanding.”

At the end of the night, Quon and Dagel walked away with first place and a $7,500 check to help launch their product idea.

“It was a great way to understand and communicate the way I want to get this product out eventually, and I’m really grateful,” Quon said.

Quon and Dagel worked hard to develop a design for the cap but encountered hurdles along the way regarding how to display the design at the presentation.

“We’re in the prototyping phase, so using 3D printing for prototyping is helpful, but our product is out of fabric,” Dagel said. “Making a 3D-printed part is a little less useful for actual prototyping, but it does give you a good visual of how it’s supposed to look and function.”

Quon hopes that they can eventually manufacture and market their product.

“I really like the idea that this product might actually benefit players because, coming from a personal standpoint, it’s never great to get hit in the front of the head or any portion of your head because it can take you out for more than half a year,” Quon said. “The fact that we can find a way to reduce those chances is one of my favorite things to think about.”

Quon and Dagel were not the only team to walk away with capital to start their business. Jenny Kottman, a business administration junior, and Riley Fitzgerald, a communication studies junior, received $5,000 for Caldwell Wedding Co., a wedding venue and planning business they hope to launch in Caldwell, Idaho.

“We came up with this business because I went to a backyard wedding this summer in Idaho and thought it was brilliant that couples weren’t spending their entire married budget on one day and realized we could totally do this with my parents’ property in Idaho,” Kottman said.

While the two found the phase of creating the business plan challenging, especially when developing financial projections and anticipating market size, they used the time to learn about the wedding business.

“We really did our homework because this is a business we want to start,” Kottman said. “Writing a business plan allows us to run the numbers to see if it would be profitable.”

The two already are planning a trip to Idaho over the summer to start the initial stages. Kottman said they were excited to have this opportunity to share their idea and carry it to completion.

“It’s over 30 hours to write a good business plan and you don’t even know that you’ll get the opportunity to present it,” Kottman said. “Knowing that it’s going to pay off and you’re going to get to put the whole idea together means everything to us.”

The third-place team, GenInnovation, received a $2,500 check. GenInnovation is a video-based platform that would allow students to connect with job recruiters and showcase what they can do visually rather than only through a resume.

Vanessa Roaché, a biomedical engineering junior, said the competition taught her and her teammates that finishing a project takes a team of equally passionate people.

“It definitely is stretching us to grow,” Roaché said. “Most of us have never done public speaking, so this is something we get to add to our life experience and grow from it.”

All three teams plan to invest the money into bringing their ideas to fruition.

“I’m really proud of what we did,” Kottman said. “It’s super exciting to just have a dream and get to work on it with somebody and put this much effort into it and get an opportunity to pitch it and have people recognize the quality of the idea. I’m excited to see it come to life one day.”

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504