The Northwest Entrepreneur Competition (NEC) held its annual virtual entrepreneur competition throughout this spring and concluded on April 13th.
The NEC, hosted by North Idaho College and the Spokane University District, welcomed high school and college students across the northwest region to compete in three competition categories: traditional business, technology and open business. Each competitor then pitched their idea for a chance to win a share of $44,000 in prize money for their company or idea.
Every participant competing had to register and submit a 90-second pitch video by February 13th to explain who their team is, what problem the team plans to solve and what the team is going to do to catch the interest of judges.
30 semi-final teams were then announced over, but 10 per competition category which then required them to submit accompanying material like research, financial documents, product visuals and more to help their 90-second live pitch on March 9th.
On March 11th, the final teams were announced and only nine teams remained as three teams per category were assigned to prepare a finalist presentation with updated supporting documentation and executive summaries. Finally, on April 13th the finalists presented their final five-minute investor pitches with a six-minute Q&A session following the presentation and winners were announced after.
However, Gonzaga University’s own Kody Lukens and Katrina Wagner were winners for the Traditional Business and Avista Corp Technology Business Category with their business ideas. Lukens won the first place $10,000 prize for Stimagz for the Traditional Business Category and a second-place $3,000 prize for his tech idea of Print4Us, while Wagner won the third-place $1,000 prize for TravAll.
Lukens, a senior business administration student concentrating in entrepreneurship and management information systems explained his first-place winning product of Stimagz, a fidget or stimulated toy designed for ADHD and autistic adults.
“I’ve been actively working on Stimagz for the past year and it’s been an idea in the back of mind going back a long time,” Lukens said. “I’m ADHD and I always have things around me to fidget with like fidget cubes, fidget spinners and etc. but when I was younger, I was always interested in magnets like when you pull them apart, put them back together and sort of bend them around each other. So that was the beginning of creating a fidget toy or stim toy specifically designed for ADHD and autistic adults that is made of plastic and doesn’t have the common problems that other ‘stim’ toys have.”
Lukens explained how he bought a 3D printer to begin creating his product and make it a reality, but took a big step by teaming up with a manufacturer and performance service to help him design and refine his product with a C corporation out of Delaware. He shared how his future plans with Stimagz are establishing a logistics network and launching his company on Kickstarter in August.
To learn more about Stimagz, visit http://stimagz.com/.
Lukens then shared his idea for his second-place winning idea of Print4Us and its purpose.