Annual business plan competition sparks entrepreneurial spirit

Published by Logan Tuttle 6 months ago on Tue, Dec 14, 2021 4:45 PM
Concordia students participating in the Concordia Catalyst Competition on Dec. 3 were, from left: Karsten McCarter, Wyatt Hambly, Logan Kreizel, Dylan Rahder, Juan Leon and Joseph Bindl.

Wyatt Hambly’s idea for a mobile welding service won the second annual Concordia Catalyst Competition on Dec. 3, where students pitched their business plans to a panel of judges.  

Hambly Mobile Welding, LLC, was developed out of necessity as a way to help organizations and properties with their welding projects, eliminating the need for land and property owners having to transport heavy machinery to complete small-scale welds. His passion for welding started as a nine-year-old in 4-H and especially grew through taking multiple welding classes in high school. After thinking through how we could combine his passion and future career, as well as seeing a gap in the marketplace, the senior business major from Paso Robles, California decided to run with the idea to create a mobile welding service.  

“There are many welding shops throughout the country, small and large, but not as many mobile welding companies willing to travel to a customer’s location,” Hambly said. “This discovery opened my eyes to the opportunity to own a mobile welding service and learn how to make it successful. I plan to get experience working in the business world and continue to weld on the side, and then later turn this into a successful business.” 

Founded by Dr. Dennis Brink, Concordia professor of agricultural science, Brian Larrington, Nebraska senior sales representative at Boehringer Ingleheim and Jonathan Jank CO ’08 GR ’11, CEO of Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership, the annual competition was developed to provide students practical experience with formulating business plans that could be put into action. Throughout the Fall 2021 semester, students met with mentors from the Seward community and beyond including loan officers, successful entrepreneurs, insurance agents and experienced marketers to help refine their plans. 

“It’s vital that the next generation learns what it takes to open and run a successful business,” Jank said. “We are excited to partner with Concordia on this competition to help aspiring entrepreneurs follow their passions and eventually turn these plans into reality.” 

This year’s event started with 18 business plans that were presented to a panel of faculty from the College of Business and the agricultural science programs. From there, five were selected to present to the panel of guest judges, who collectively had three decades of entrepreneurial leadership experience. 

“Entrepreneurship is about innovation, having the courage to venture down a path where there may be risk and developing a plan to navigate those risks to get down the path successfully,” Jon Moberly, dean of the College of Business, said. “While these characteristics are commonly seen in someone starting their own business, it’s important to realize that existing organizations need leaders with these same entrepreneurial characteristics to help them stay ahead of the competition and continue to grow.” 

Hambly said he appreciated being able to take multiple entrepreneurship classes at Concordia to encourage him and other students to work toward owning their own business. For the competition, he enjoyed working with his professors and mentor to prepare for pitching his plan to a panel of potential investors.  

“Having to stand in front of potential investors and explain my business plan in detail was very nerve-wracking, but an awesome experience,” Hambly said. “The questions the panel asked afterward were some I hadn’t thought of and that’s helped me to refine my plan even further.” 

The next competition, Moberly said, will be open to anyone who is dedicated to developing a business plan around an opportunity and values getting experience and valuable feedback—whether they’re a Concordia student, a community member or a high school student—anyone will have the opportunity to enter. 

“This event is also valuable for high school students and teachers who want the opportunity to see first-hand the work that goes into developing a business plan,” Moberly said, “including the types of questions they will need to be prepared to answer from potential investors and to also spark that entrepreneurial spirit.” 

 

Additional teams who pitched their business plans at the Dec. 3 competition included: 
 

Switchback Fitness & Therapy, second place 

Logan Kreizel, senior, Lincoln, Neb. 

Dylan Rahder, senior, York, Neb. 

A turn-key facility that provides a full-service gym, sports-specific training and physical therapy. 

 

Bindl Financial Planning, third place 

Joseph Bindl, senior, Papillion, Neb. 

A combination of tax planning and investment advising with a CPA who would hold a Series 6 and 7 licenses. 

 

Bronco Taco, fourth place 

Juan Leon, junior, Columbus, Neb. 

A taco food truck with large portions and a focus on going where appetites are large after a full night of entertainment. 

 

KC Feed, fifth place 

Karsten McCarter, sophomore, Elm Creek, Neb. 

Production and distribution of a high protein feed for a wide variety of animals.