Winning businesses of Xavier’s X-LAB Competition have the potential to improve lives

Ten entrepreneurs were chosen from 146 entries for the 2011 Xavier Launch-a-Business Competition | August 30, 2011

Products and services that would make dental visits shorter, entertain fans at sporting events, educate investors about the stock market and provide consumers with healthier food are among the winners of the 2011 Xavier Launch-a-Business Competition.

There’s even an innovation in underwear that would make it easier for boys to use the restroom.

X-LAB, a pioneering economic development program, honored the 10 winners on Tuesday, Aug. 30, during an event in Smith Hall, home of the Williams College of Business, which runs X-LAB. Now in its second year, X-LAB 2011 received 146 applications. Faculty, MBA students and business executives selected the winners using a rigorous evaluation process that included in-depth questionnaires and interviews.

“We again had an outstanding group of entrepreneurs compete in the X-LAB Competition,” said professor Joseph Carter, who heads X-LAB. “We had a difficult time narrowing our applicants down to just 10 winners. We could have selected twice as many outstanding winners.”

The winners and their businesses are:

• Courtney Tudor; Mr. Bigshot, an online stock market game.
• Adam Treister; Student Designed, connecting students with real-world work.
• Dr. David Croop and Don Carter; DC2 Technologies, advanced dental instrument.
• Mary Fennell; Easy Peez, innovative boys’ underwear.
• Doug Moormann, Chip Gerhardt and Jim Benedict; Development Strategies Group, economic development consulting.
• Djibril Thiaw; Senfacture, an online method for paying overseas bills.
• Brett Elkins and Mike Buob; GameDay Advantage Technologies, mobile device applications for sports teams.
• Candace Klein; SoMoLend, peer-to-peer lending technology.
• Brad Rogers; Urban Harvest, high-yield farming in cities. Read about Rogers' aquaculture company online.
• Brendan Cmolik, Wyatt Link and Sean Zavoda; Green City Cuisine, locally grown organic food truck.

The winners receive free consulting services, a meeting with potential investors and other support. The winners and 25 finalists also will be eligible to attend 15 workshops to teach them how to create business plans. In addition, the winners receive free legal advisory services from Dinsmore & Shohl, one of the region’s largest law firms. Dinsmore & Shohl, which is based in Cincinnati, has more than 450 attorneys in the Midwest.

The winners also receive free accounting and tax advisory services from Joseph Decosimo and Co., one of the nation’s top 100 CPA firms. Decosimo has more than 300 employees in nine offices in the Midwest, Southeast and Cayman Islands.

X-LAB is different from other entrepreneur competitions because its primary benefit is sharing its business expertise. Many entrepreneur competitions offer cash prizes but little business expertise. No other Greater Cincinnati economic development program has such extensive resources as X-LAB. The competition draws on the college’s 65 faculty members, 500 executives affiliated with the college and nearly 1,000 MBA students to help the winners.

In addition to benefiting entrepreneurs, X-LAB has benefited the college’s students. The college created an MBA course in which students act as consultants to the X-LAB businesses.

The applications were judged on three primary factors: the viability of the ideas, the potential of the entrepreneurs and whether the capabilities of X-LAB and the business ideas are a good match. The business and nonprofits also need to be able to grow or make a significant impact regionally or nationally.

Interim dean Stafford Johnson acknowledged the people and organizations behind X-LAB.

“As we move into our second year, the success of X-LAB is due to the tremendous support, hard work and vision of the Castellini Foundation, former dean Ali Malekzadeh, professor Joseph Carter, professor George Gordon, college executive advisor Barbara Henshaw and many faculty members, staff, students and business executives.”

More information about X-LAB is available at the college's website.