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Check out the winners of our quarterly Business Plan Contest. Click here to learn how to enter the next quarterly contest.
The Company Corporation congratulates Neter Kush Ben Alkebulan – the most recent winner of our Business Plan Contest.
The Company Corporation is pleased to recognize the hard work and ingenuity of Neter Kush Ben Alkebulan, winner of its most recent Business Plan Contest.
Alkebulan, co-founder of the Fresh Start Beverage Company, entered a winning business plan for a product called Banana Wave, a banana-based, non-dairy beverage with "heart-healthy ingredients, sufficient protein and fiber, and … more potassium than most alternative milk beverages." (For more on the product, visit here)
The inspiration for Banana Wave came from a recipe Alkebulan says was handed down by his African ancestors. He created a prototype of the so-called "super food" in his aunt's kitchen in Mobile, Alabama.
According to data compiled by the market research firm Mintel Group Ltd., alternatives to cow's milk, such as almond milk, soy milk and other nutrient-dense beverages with a milk-like consistency, accounted for 7.3% of the total U.S. dairy and non-dairy milk market in 2013. This shift is reflective of a more than 30% rise in market share since 2010. In the same study, Mintel predicted that dairy alternatives would continue to grow through 2017, rising to nearly $2.9 billion in annual sales.
"With the soaring popularity of plant-based alternatives to dairy milk, we felt that Neter Kush Ben Alkebulan's business plan for Banana Wave was persuasive, well-timed, and descriptive of a highly marketable product," said David Gilardi, general manager of The Company Corporation. "We wish him every success as he sets out on this important journey."
Alkebulan is a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. He holds an associate's degree in business administration from Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson, North Carolina. He is currently working toward his B.S. degree in marketing at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Florida. Alkebulan is a founding member of Innovative Product Solutions LLC (IPS) and recently won a scholarship from the Tom Joyner Foundation (in partnership with Denny's restaurants) for his 500-word essay on fighting childhood hunger.
Alkebulan says his business mission is to "make humanity healthy, happy and stronger one refrigerator at a time, by providing quality fruit, plant, and non-dairy beverages to the world."
For his winning plan, The Company Corporation has awarded Alkebulan $1,000.
Past Business Plan Contest Winners – 2013
Third Quarter Winner – Tony Beaman
The Company Corporation is pleased to honor the insight and creativity of U.S. military veteran Tony Beaman, winner of its most recent Business Plan Contest. Beaman's winning business plan executive summary described ElitePrep U, a veteran-owned nonprofit company dedicated to training, mentoring, and educating U.S. veterans through direct contact with successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and corporate managers and executives.
Beaman says his aspiration for ElitePrep U is to "become a partner and leader with other individuals, corporations and veterans groups in an effort to help veterans develop skills and strong leadership and entrepreneurship mindsets."" ElitePrep U participants would receive expert career counseling along with training on presentation skills, interview preparation, résumé assistance and professional profile development.
A veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard, Beaman is president and founder of Millennium Franchise Group and Fran4Vets (Franchising For Veterans), a certified veteran-owned small business through the Veterans Administration. He holds an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management and a BA in advertising/public relations journalism from the University of Arkansas.
For his winning plan, The Company Corporation has awarded Beaman $1,000.
Second Quarter Winner – Joseph Sheahan
The Company Corporation is thrilled to recognize the work of Joseph Sheahan, winner of our most recent Business Plan Contest. Sheahan's winning executive summary describes a business called savvo digital sommelier solutions™, an electronic companion that helps everyday shoppers find, buy, and share wines they'll love. The Company Corporation's panel of judges was impressed by both the spirit of innovation behind Sheahan's plan and the marketplace need that savvo clearly fills.
"I am an entrepreneur at heart, despite how long it took me to realize it," says Sheahan, who began his career in restaurant management. During an entrepreneurship class at MBA school, Sheahan struck on a new concept. "My original idea was that if I could create an easy, fun, and effective way for people to learn about wine, everyone would line up to pay for it!" he says. "We determined that a 'Digital Sommelier' would be the perfect solution help shoppers find the right wine for them, and at the same time would offer a valuable service to the retailer and help wine companies find their new best customers."
For his winning plan, The Company Corporation awards Joseph Sheahan $1,000.
Second Quarter Runner Up – Mecca Bey
Given our love of small businesses, The Company Corporation's judges just couldn't overlook the great idea behind Locate a Small Business. Founded by Philadelphia native Mecca Bey, the website offers a convenient platform for consumers to find, connect with, and support their local business community.
"Locate A Small Business is committed to supporting small businesses, both locally and nationwide," says Bey. "By connecting consumers with businesses ready to meet their needs and vice versa, everyone wins, especially in our struggling local economies."
Bey, a Penn graduate, self-described 'social media power user,' and mother of four, launched her first business in 1996 on Philadelphia's bustling South Street. She has since magnified her experience by assisting small business owners through online networking. To date, Locate a Small Business has signed up more than 1,000 small business owners seeking to connect with consumers. The mobile app version of the site will launch soon.
For her business plan, The Company Corporation awards Mecca Bey $500.
First Quarter Winner – Pearl Somboonsong
The Company Corporation is pleased to announce that Cornell University junior Pearl Somboonsong, 21, is the winner of our first-ever Business Plan Contest. Her winning executive summary describes a business called InPlace, an "aging in place" solution that would enable seniors to stay at home, in a familiar residential setting, by using their home equity to pay for affordable home health care services. The Company Corporation's panel of judges was impressed by the thoughtfulness and commercial potential of Somboonsong's plan.
An internship last summer with Brookdale Senior Living, in Pennsylvania, informed the details of Somboonsong's proposal. The hands-on experience "cultivated my interest in the senior living industry and gave me key insights while developing the InPlace business plan," she says.
Originally from Radnor, Pennsylvania, Somboonsong is no stranger to entrepreneurship. This summer, her family expects to open its seventh restaurant in the greater Philadelphia area. "Growing up with parents who are restaurateurs, I have developed a passion for the hospitality industry and love the excitement of expanding a family business," she says.
In 2010, Somboonsong founded Focus, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating educational opportunities that help students in underdeveloped regions of northern Thailand attain self-sufficiency. The enterprise drew praise from U.S. News & World Report and to date remains "the most meaningful achievement I have had the privilege of leading," Somboonsong says. Though her studies at Cornell take up most of her time now, she still manages to travel to Thailand each summer to visit the school and its students.
Beyond her academic goals, Somboonsong says her immediate plans include expanding her family's restaurant group "while also learning more about the senior living industry and its growth potential."
Please join us in congratulating Pearl Somboonsong, winner of our Business Plan Contest!
Interested in entering the next quarterly contest? Click here to read more about it.