BYU-Hawaii student finalists for the Great Ideas competition presented their vision for domestic, international, social and community problems and said the competition was hard, but rewarding.
The competition occurred on Thursday, Nov. 16 and awards were given in each category. First-place winners received $3,000, second place received $2,000 and third place received $1,000.
To determine which of the 24 participants would win the cash prizes, the university brought in four people who have had success in their businesses and entrepreneurial pursuits.
First place went to Lua Creations, a necktie brand started by Jackson Measles, a junior from Utah studying communications. He said he created handmade neckties as a hobby and turned it into a business after he received a lot of requests. During his presentation, he said his brand is focused on surfing action and sports culture.
Second place was Van Life in Paradise, a van rental company started by Bryce Coleman, a junior studying peacebuilding from Arizona. His plan was to renovate Volkswagens into mobile homes for visitors when they travel. Coleman’s current Volkswagen has a kitchen with a refrigerator, two beds, a shower and space for surfboards and snorkeling gear.
In third place was ‘GLDR Handplanes,’ a hand board used while surfing to glide along the side of the wave. The creators, Jack Soren and Patrick Calderon, said it allows anyone at any skill level to surf down a barrel. The board is made out of broken and old boards to reduce waste and increase affordability with entry-level boards starting at $100.
There were four winners in this category, as third place was awarded to two competitors this year. The announcer said the judges donated more money to make the fourth award possible.
Shaker mints, on-the-go mints to clean protein shakers, came in first place. Julliet Liafau said she thought of the idea to save time and keep shakers clean with natural, non-toxic mints.
In second place came Bellflower, an online wedding dress website that allows brides to personalize their wedding dress in an affordable way. Sharon Yeap, a freshman majoring in biochemistry from Malaysia, said she created this website to reduce wedding dress prices. “I made my wedding dresses only half the cost of a regular dress, while still being exactly what you picture.”
One of the third place winners was the Cultural Discovery Center of Mongolia, by Nasanbold Sukhbaatar and Tuvshinjargal Lkhagvadorj. This is an idea for a center near the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, where five of Mongolia’s cultural nomadic tribes would be brought together in one place for visitors to see. According to Lkhagvadorj, this idea will allow easier and faster access to cultures in the countryside.
The other third place winner, Cloud College, was also geared toward Mongolians. Created by Bayarsaikhan Amarjargal and Munkh-Od Altansukh, it is a website to allows users access to any English educational video at a monthly subscription fee.
Symbiotic Solutions came in first place and aims to solve the problem of food shortages and unemployment. The non-profit organization creator, Devin Hampton, said its solution is having fathers and sons come home and build their own chicken businesses. Food for the chickens will be provided by family’s or community’s food waste to black soldier fly larvae.
Beristain Clothing came in second place. Carolina Cruz and Genesis Chavez said they created this unique and traditional brand of clothing to provide jobs for less-educated and poverty-stricken Mexican women.
In third place came Daisi, created by Sei Kuwahara and Tomomasa Ono. Daisi is a biogas digestor, which processes human waste into compost. Kuwahara, a freshman studying business management from Japan, said this invention is perfect for third-world countries that suffer from sanitation problems or countries like the United States that produce a lot of food waste.
First place winner was Oahu Indoor Swap Meet, a more comfortable solution to the outdoor swap meet, according to creator Martha Christensen. It includes air conditioning, a close bathroom and will be open six days a week. Christensen thought of this idea to provide cover from rain, wind and the heat usually experienced at the swap meet.
The T-shirt brand Daily Mormon, created by Josh Mason, an alumni from Oklahoma, came in second place. Daily Mormon sells “shirts to convert,” with Book of Mormon verses and favorite scripture verses on them. Selling through Amazon, he said the company will also include Mormon quotes and is currently developing options for requests with verses not already available.
In third place was Crowdsourced Sales Team. This company’s business was started by Kevin Knudsen and aims to find customers the best products and visa versa. The company gets a commission from the sale once it is finalized. They are currently developing an app and focusing on digital design, photography, and the service industry.
To read what the judges say about what makes an idea great and their advice for entrepreneurs, click here.
NOTE: This story's online publication was delayed because it was featured in the Dec. 2017 print issue.