Boozehounds, nighttime athletes and fashionable pets everywhere were the real winners at Clemson University’s EnterPrize Awards, the school’s MBA in entrepreneurship pitch contest closing out the students’ yearlong program. While students pitched everything from ice rink booking applications to pocket neighborhood developments, first-place winner Standard Ice took home $20,000 to build its soon-to-be-patented craft ice machine concept for bars and restaurants.
The premise is simple, according to the brains behind the company, MBAe student Josh Luetkemeyer and mechanical engineering student Tyler Curran. If you’re going to pay top dollar for a premium drink, why let fast-melting, bacteria-riddled, cloudy ice ruin it?
“The ice machine is notorious in the industry for failing health inspections,” said Luetkemeyer, who hit upon the idea while working in Moscow for Coca-Cola. Crystal-clear premium ice – as frozen by the machine they’ve spent a year designing – not only melts slower, but it looks better in the glass. That, and bars can charge $1 to $2 more for it per drink, he said.
But a premium ice machine – which could run between $1,500 and $1,800 each – can be a hard sell if business owners don’t understand the value and growing demand, they said. “It’s a big hurdle for us, and that’s a big part of our sales pitch is how is this going to pay for itself in the long run,” said Luetkemeyer. Despite the cost, the machine could pay for itself in as little as six weeks, he said.
The $20,000 from the contest will go directly toward producing Standard Ice’s first prototype by August, which will allow them to begin trials in five key markets around the country, including New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland.
Second-place winner Matt Brown won $6,000 for his company Get Lit, which produces customizable LED safety wear for athletes, pedestrians and commuters who find themselves traversing in the dark. The LED panel can be attached to the back of bikes, backpacks and eventually shirts, and uses moving arrows and other patterns to help prevent accidents and fatalities by alerting motorists.
To read more please follow this link