News & Events

Ryan O'Keefe wins $5,000 in business plan competition

Lewis University student wins $5,000 through business plan competition

Published: December 27, 2013.


Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President of Lewis
University, congratulates student Ryan O'Keefe.

Business student Ryan O’Keefe received $5,000 for winning the Business Plan Competition hosted by the Lowell Stahl Center for Entrepreneurship and Real Estate at Lewis University.

The awarded funds will be used toward O’Keefe’s proposed online business, “Custom Survival Inc.” The proposed online business produces customized zombie apocalypse survival guides and other related products.

The Business Plan Competition is a campus-wide competition that awards prize money for students who have best outlined a new venture and exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit. The Stahl Center hosts two Business Plan Competitions each academic year, in the Fall and Spring term. The competitions are open to all students, graduate and undergraduate, within the university. Students formulate an idea, develop a business plan and pitch their idea to a panel of judges. The judges also serve as the Advisory Board for the Stahl Center.

Other teams that presented noteworthy business plans for the Fall 2013 competition included the following: a plan for a holistic health coaching company, presented by Brittani Alston, Emily Goodell, Megan Sea-Macak, Zachary Sladek, Rachel Tau and Jeffrey Wegrzyn; a strategy for a turkey comfort food truck, proposed by Jodi Steinberg, Geoffrey Steinberg, Derek Frommel, Lara Jones, Katie Curtis and Erin Cox; and a proposal for business improvements to the Cove Apartments submitted by Stephanie Aguas.

“Writing a business plan is the first key step in translating a great idea into a great business. A business plan is a blueprint entrepreneurs use to address the uncertainties surrounding the decisions investors make to evaluate the venture’s potential,” explained Kristin Nance, director of the Stahl Center.

The center integrates support for regional entrepreneurs with hands-on learning opportunities for multi-disciplinary students. The result is a collaborative cycle of understanding, planning, implementing, measuring, and refining strategies for up and coming businesses. Regional entrepreneurs benefit from fresh ideas, enthusiasm and talent from the students, while students gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved with starting a business venture. The Stahl Center for Entrepreneurship instills entrepreneurial thinking at Lewis University and creates a community of practitioners with a lifelong commitment to achieving social and economic progress through entrepreneurship. For more information about the Stahl Center, please contact Kristin Nance at nancekr@lewisu.edu or 815-836-5092.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,600 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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