UA startup team Grox Industries wins business plan competition in Las Vegas

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 198 views 

Sam Walls Jr., center, retired CEO of Arkansas Capital Corp., presents the first place award to team members of University of Arkansas entrepreneurship team Grox Industries Wednesday night (May 31) in Las Vegas,

Grox Industries, a University of Arkansas-affiliated entrepreneurship team won first place Thursday (May 31) at the 10th Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State Collegiate Business Plan Competition held in Las Vegas.

Team members Andrew Miles, Willie Evans, Stonie Hopkins, Witness Martin and Qiuting Zheng won a $30,000 cash prize award. Another $3,500 cash prize was presented to their advisor, Carol Reeves.

Grox Industries develops “next-generation, low e-glass coatings for thermal insulation on residential and commercial windows.”

For a decade, the Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State competition has been an invitation-only event for the first- and second-place winners in the graduate and undergraduate divisions of the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup state collegiate business plan competitions in Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma.

In addition to their presentations throughout the day to a national panel of judges, all 12 teams from the three states had another opportunity to promote their business ideas to a wider audience, including representatives of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, via a :90-second elevator pitch competition.

Arkansas teams won both categories — the undergraduate division went to Michael Bennett, representing Easy Dam from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, and Tiffany Jarrett with Rejuvenics Technologies from the UA won the graduate division. Both Bennett and Jarrett were presented with $2,000 cash prizes.

This is the final year of title sponsorship for the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which has invested more than $9 million in grants into the competitions since 2004. Arkansas Capital Corp. established the state’s first business plan competition in 2001, which paved the way to the partnership with the Reynolds Foundation in 12 of the last 13 years.

Since the first Tri-State event in 2008, more than 1,500 teams have competed from nearly 40 colleges and universities throughout the three states, winning $6.2 million in cash awards.