University of Tulsa students were recognized with both second-place and third-place honors during the 19th annual Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup awards dinner last month. Forty-one teams entered this year’s competition, which culminated in 18 finalist teams across three business plan divisions: Small Business, High Growth Undergraduate and High Growth Graduate.
In the High Growth Graduate division, TU team Fortis Fleet Technologies won second place and $10,000 for their pitch to provide the ultimate line of cyber defense for trucking firms through a patented, first-to-market Controller Area Network data diode specifically designed for commercial trucking industry use. The Fortis Fleet Technologies team included Molly Wahlgren, Abe Anderson, Isaac Akers, Samir Abi-Younes, and their adviser, Collins College of Business Professor Mike Troilo.
In the High Growth Undergraduate division, TU team Stop-and-Go Composites won third place and $5,000 for their concept for aircraft brakes, which are commonly composed of carbon composites. Stop-and-Go seeks a new approach to densifying carbon composites by reducing the time to maintain this process and increasing efficiency while remaining cost effective. The Stop-and-Go Composites team included Dayne O’Daniel, Grant Wear, Camryn Matlock, and Troilo as adviser.
In the real world, ideas don’t make it far without input from industry experts. Teams that displayed superior knowledge of their business and its competitive advantages during the interview stage received $1,000. Stop-and-Go Composites also won in the Manufacturing, Material Sciences, Transportation Interview category, which was presented by The Chickasaw Nation.
The Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup is presented by Love’s Travel Stops. Jenny Love Meyer, chief culture officer for Love’s Travel Stops, handed out trophies to each winning team and student.
“The last 19 years of this competition — and the many more to come — would not be possible without the continued support from sponsors like Love’s Travel Stops,” i2E Chief Executive Officer Scott Meacham said. “These sponsor organizations are investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs that will bring innovation and expanded economic development opportunities to our state.”
The Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup is a statewide collegiate business plan competition that simulates the real-world process of researching a market, writing a business plan and making a presentation to potential investors. Students from eight Oklahoma schools were awarded $158,000 in cash prizes and scholarships during the 19th annual Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup in April 2023.
Over its history, 2,700 students have participated, showcasing over 820 innovative ideas and receiving $2.45 million in awards. The program is sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops and administered by i2E, a private not-for-profit corporation focused on growing innovative small businesses in Oklahoma and making a positive impact on the state’s economy.
Throughout their academic career, TU students receive many opportunities for real-world experience along with support from expert faculty members. The Love’s Cup is just one example. The university’s new Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship also has been established to aid students, alumni and faculty in turning their dreams into reality.