News • April 14, 2021

CBU students pitch entrepreneur ideas at business competition

CBU students pitch entrepreneur ideas at business competition

Riverside, Calif. (April 14, 2021) – Love for the environment led a team to win the Bob Goodrich Business Plan Competition on April 8. Sarah Rourke and Rachel Price, juniors at California Baptist University, earned $5,000 for their accomplishment.

The competition, which was held virtually, was sponsored by the Robert K. Jabs School of Business. Prizes for the competition were made possible by an anonymous donor.

The winning team designed a machine that accelerates the composting process in a 24-hour period, generating fertile soil on-site. The business—named Yarkona, which means green in Hebrew—initially would sell to universities.

Rourke said she was inspired to create Yarkona when she observed food waste at a cafeteria.

“I recognized that these food scraps can turn into something that would help the environment instead of hurting it,” she explained.

Rourke, a business administration major, grew up in Portland, Oregon, where a lot of people compost, including her family.

“Living in such an environmentally friendly city like Portland, sustainability values were instilled into me at a very young age,” Rourke said. “I grew very fond of composting and watching the food scraps turn into nutrient rich soil overtime; the idea of that always interested me.”

After winning the competition, Rourke said she has received offers to help create the prototype and to provide financial investments.

Ten student teams submitted business plans earlier in the semester. Students worked with a faculty advisor during the submission process.

Once the business plans were submitted, CBU faculty analyzed and measured their viability. The plans included an executive summary, the type of products and services the company would be selling and various marketing research metrics. Each plan was ranked by an MBA professor who ensured that all elements of a business plan were considered.

Five finalists were selected to present a business pitch to a panel of judges consisting of Nolan Gouveia, department lead for entrepreneurship; Dr. Adele Harrison, professor of finance; Dr. Marc Weniger, professor of business; Ana Lee, owner of Women in Tandem; and Methode Maniraguha, owner of Current Renewables Engineering Inc.

Gouveia said he hoped through the process the students learned about leadership, teamwork and pushing through adversity.

“To articulate a new business idea is a tough thing to do and our students exceeded expectations,” Gouveia said. “I believe this experience is exactly what college students need while in school in order to come out as a well-rounded individual as they graduate.”

Double Down Doggie Daycare, with Jenny Kottman and Seth Desena, placed second in the competition and earned $3,000. Their business provided mobile dog grooming and dog walking services.

Chad Gaines and Carissa Arguello created Good Thymes and took third as well as $2,000. Their concept of an app would connect those interested in renting their land to individuals who wish to have their own gardens.

Additionally, the anonymous donor provided $1,000 for each of the five finalists to help them launch their business ventures.

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504