Entrepreneurs of Erath business plan competition announces winners

The winners of this year's Entrepreneurs of Erath Business Plan Contest were announced April 12 on the campus of Tarleton State University. Pictured (l-r) are Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio with the top three finalists: third-place, Hannah Elkins Art; first-place, MAKR LLC; and second-place, Tech323. Also pictured is Dr. Chris Shao (far right), dean of the College of Business Administration.

STEPHENVILLE (April 17, 2019) — Erath County-based MAKR, LLC took top prize in Tarleton State University’s Entrepreneurs of Erath (EoErath) third business plan contest during an awards luncheon last week on the Stephenville campus.

Tech323 came in second, and Hannah Elkins Art earned third-place honors. The top three winners will share cash prizes and professional services totaling $55,000 to further develop their businesses.

Started in 2015, the biennial contest is open to startup and existing businesses as well as Tarleton students who write the best business plan. The competition consists of three rounds: the executive summary, formal business plan and a pitch before contest judges.

MAKR, LLC, operated by Mike Rogers, is a small local business that produces an innovative feeding system and products for deer and other wildlife. This company envisions its products to help farmers, ranchers and hunters provide protein and other nutrition to deer while blocking wild hogs. Rogers received $8,000 in start-up funds for placing first in the competition.

Second-place winner Tech323, a Texas startup LLC, is a Managed Service Provider (MSP) focused on the IT needs of small- to medium-sized businesses. Billy Andrews and Jason Stacy provide 24-7 IT monitoring services that allow small business owners to focus on running their business rather than on IT issues. Tech323 was awarded $4,000 for its second-place business plan.

Third-place winner Hannah Elkins Art, operated by Hannah and Cade Elkins, specialize in epoxy resin artwork ranging from coasters, jewelry bowls and necklaces to display work such as larger paintings. Hannah creates the perfect gift for any occasion. The duo received a $2,000 prize for their third-place business plan.

EoErath is a collaboration of Tarleton’s College of Business Administration, the university’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Stephenville Economic Development Center (STEDCO), Stephenville Economic Development Authority, Dublin Economic Development Center and the city of Stephenville. Stephenville and Dublin chambers of commerce also support the competition.

Semifinalists and honorable mention awardees for the 2019 contest are:

• B&A MediaTech, operated by Amauri Martinez. B&A MediaTech is a media company that handles a variety of entertainment needs, including DJ services, photo booth, videography and photography.

• Rinkie Dinks, owned by Micah Cardoza, is a startup business in Stephenville committed to bringing the retro roller skating rink back to life for Erath County.

• Bite of Brownie Productions, operated by Jarrod Brown, is a boutique video production company that caters to creating visual stories around problems businesses need to solve.

• Monarch Construction, owned by Chris Neal, is a sole proprietorship in Erath County focused on home renovations.

All four honorable mentions and semifinalists received a $500 prize for their business plans.

Judges for the 2019 EoErath competition were Brad Allen, David Baskett, Randy Burch, Dr. Omar Esqueda, Ashleigh Feuerbacher, Chris Garza, Clint Haggard, Wendell Hollingsworth, Mike Kornegay, Randy McCamey, John Moore, David Notgrass, Fisher Rinderknecht, Jeff Sandford, James Sellers, April Thomson and Bobby Waddell.

The next EoErath competition starts in January 2021. For more information on the contest, visit www.eoerath.com. To learn more about Tarleton’s SBDC, go to www.tsusbdc.com.


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