Winners from the Great Ideas 2019 Competition took home prize money on Nov. 7 during the finalist competition and now begin their journeys of making their ideas a reality.
Winners from each category all said every idea can be a great idea as long as people put passion and effort into the project. They also shared success comes from overcoming trials and learning from great people.
Great Ideas is an annual competition sponsored by the Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship. Each year participants compete in four categories: Young Entrepreneurs, Revenue, Social Impact, and Pre-Revenue.
The owner of Cole Cuts, Coleman Weeks, a 13-year-old resident of Laie, won first place in the category. Weeks’ business model is to provide lawn care service to local families from people they can trust.
Weeks said it is important to come up with a business idea that is sustainable, supplies demand and helps others. “Most people have yards and they want to keep it nice when guests come over. They can either do it themselves [or] if they are too busy they can hire people like us to mold it for them at a cheaper price.”
Weeks also shared the hardest part is to find a balance between school and business, but he and his mentor found a tool called Fareharbor where customers can schedule appointments on their website and leave a request, even when they are in school. The team, which consists of teens in Weeks’ age group, said they will commit to work on Saturdays and whenever they have free time.
“I learned it takes hard work and patience to learn how to run a business and [gain] clients.” Weeks said the key to success is when entrepreneurs come up with a good execution of a business plan and do everything that comes with it.
Desperate Surfers took 2nd place and Nā Makana O Ke Kai took 3rd place in this category.
The first place winner of the Revenue category was BreezeMed. It is a Telehealth business that helps patients connect with doctors through phone or Skype calls where they can get their prescriptions filled without a doctor visit.
Paul Davis, a junior from California majoring in business finance, said the competition helps their business connect with many mentors and successful entrepreneurs who gave them valuable advice. “It was an awesome opportunity to have this type of exposure and learn from the great minds of people who have grown million-dollar companies.”
Davis also shared their business had to take out a small business loan of $10,000 for equipment and to pay healthcare lawyers to solve the obstacle of keeping up with all the legal regulations in the healthcare industry and secure contracts with doctors. Davis said the lawyers help them stay compliant with HIPAA and other regulations.
MyRoots Jewelry took 2nd place followed by Ka'imi Kuts in 3rd place.
Eco Straws took first place in the Social Impact category. Their business idea is to supply local businesses with eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic.
One of the owners, Aaron Shields, a senior from California majoring in business finance, said it is important to believe in your idea and work hard for it. “I learned if you have a good idea and there is a market for it, put your heart to do it. There is always a chance for any business.”
Shields shared their hardest challenge is the communication barrier with the manufacturer from China in order to get the right information and pricing. He shared their solution is to ask all the questions at once so that they don’t have to go back and forth.
Shields also shared how it is also important to look for market opportunities. “I have joined the competition before, but this time we won because we caught the need in the market, as environmental issues are a huge issue right now.”
The second place winner was 10th Loaf followed by Keiki Dough in third place.
The first place winner was Daily, a mass message marketing system designed to showcase daily promotions offered by local businesses.
The second place winner of the category was the BYUH Student App team. They devoted to building a one-stop solution app for students and faculty members. They also contacted local food trucks and some of them agreed to be a part of the app.
Juri Vinay, a sophomore from India majoring in marketing, said the competition taught them that every idea is a great idea. “If we put effort in the idea we can make it successful,” said Vinay.
Vinay continued by giving suggestions to students, “Never give up on your idea, network with people, ask for suggestions, build a team and continuously work on improvement of your idea.”
The third place winner of the category was Quiver.
Davis from BreezeMed said, “Don’t start your [business] just for a competition. Go do what you’re passionate about, learn from your mistakes and get your business profitable so that when the next competition comes around you can enter with a solid business model that has been tested and proven that it works.”
Agreeing with Davis, Spencer Rascon, a senior from Texas majoring in IDS and the owner of MyRoots Jewelry, shared his take on the competition, “I didn’t make it the last time, but I understood my potential and have kept in touch with the judges ever since.”