San Diego State takes top honors at TCU Values and Ventures competition

Forty-nine universities took part in Texas Christian University’s fifth annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition on April 11. 

San Diego State University students took top honors for their plan for W.E. Do Good provides a low-cost, human-powered machine to improve agronomic practices and impact poverty in Ethiopia and other countries that harvest the teff grain. Their Teff Thresher uses no fuel or electricity is affordable, durable and portable. SDSU took the grand prize of $25,000.

Second place and $15,000 went to Grand Valley State University (Allendale, Michigan) for Soletics’ gloves that deliver superior temperature management using sensors and real-time biofeedback for individuals suffering from Raynaud’s Disease. Soletics will give 1 percent of net revenues to the Raynaud’s Association to further research for a cure. The team from GVSU also won $25,000 in marketing and advertising from competition sponsor Warren Douglas.

Georgetown University took third place and $10,000 for MISFIT Juicery, which utilizes discarded, misshapen fruits and vegetables to make cold-pressed juices.

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Honorable Mentions awards went to teams from TCU for VitiFive custom vitamin supplements delivered monthly with five percent of profits to charities designated by customers; University of Chicago for UProspie, an online platform that connects prospective students with current undergraduates; University of Texas at Dallas for Songbird Speech Solutions SPEAK series of books to assist children with speech disorders; University of Calgary for Peeach web platform matching students with nearby tutors; Northern Kentucky University for Vegy Vida patent-pending, bitter-blocking formula for an all-natural squeezable vegetable sauce to combat childhood obesity; and Drexel University for Kegg, a private, interactive database of events for college students accessed through a free app.

Two special Founders Awards of $5,000 each went to the U.S. Air Force Academy for Bridge Watch, a plan to cut government bridge maintenance costs, estimated at $20.5 billion by 2028, by monitoring anode corrosion to improve the corrosion repair process; and Johns Hopkins University for Vera Surgical, an easy-to-use device that streamlines the closure process of laparoscopy while saving hospitals money and increasing patient safety.

Competition co-founders Nancy Richards and Lisa Barrentine also awarded $500 each for The Ripple Effect Award, women entrepreneurs helping women, which went to DePaul University, Syracuse University and Lehigh University.

All 49 teams also could designate one member to participate in an elevator pitch competition. The first place winner of $1,000 was DePaul University for BBands headbands that display messages of inspiration to young women. Second place of $500 went to University of Houston for PuruS, a patented process that focuses on the purification of cleaner and renewable energy sources such as natural gas and biogas. Third place and $250 went to University of Arizona for CrateCrops, which combines aquaponics, vertical gardening and automation inside shipping containers.

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For a complete list of competing universities teams and business plans, visit