Two MSU-College of Business teams placed in the UM Business Plan Competition
Kalen Caughey, of Hamilton, who just completed his freshman year at MSU majoring in business-marketing, placed third in a competition dominated by business upperclassmen and graduate students. Caughey's presentation was on Guaran Energia LLC, the company he founded that manufacturers all-natural energy lozenges, similar in form to that of a cough drop or mint.
"Each tin has seven lozenges, and each lozenge is similar to an 8 oz. energy drink or cup of coffee," Caughey said. "The difference in buzz with ENERGIA is that there is no caffeine crash; the longer-lasting energy lift is due to Brazilian guaran seed powder (used in each lozenge) which contains a unique combination of stimulants, including those found in coffee, chocolate and tea."
The team of students that included Trent Lister a business-management major of Kalispell, Sam Wike a business-management major of Great Falls, Corey Gramer a busiess-accounting major of Gallatin Gateway, Will Bauerle a business-management major of Missoula and Jessica Vionas a sociology major, Nicole Marquardt an English major and Robin Dreiseszun a business-finance major all of Bozeman, placed fourth. The team's presentation was the manufacture of a bottled water named Alsatia, inspired by the small country between Germany and France, Alsace Loraine. The water is packed in a collapsible pouch, called a "glacier pack," which takes up 95 percent less landfill space than that of traditional bottled water. It comes with a carabiner attached so that it can be hooked onto a backpack, belt or harness.
"I had a great time coaching the teams and seeing real progress as they integrated the feedback into their presentations," said Joe Long, an adjunct professor in the College of Business and the students' business coach "I can't say how impressed I was with the caliber of these students." The John Ruffatto Business Plan Competition was founded in 1990. Each May, the event attracts approximately 20 teams from college programs around the state. Recent success stories include Big Sky Brewing Company, now one of the top 20 microbreweries in the country, and Kinetic Sports Interactive, an interactive media company that provides personalized training program supplemental software for companies such as Eastbay, Prospot, among others.