Student team wins competition

Media contact: Angela Yeager, 541-737-0784;

Source: Christopher Klemm, 541- 713-8046;

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A team of students who developed a plan for marketing specialty chemicals outperformed 11 other teams in the recent Enterprise Challenge, hosted by Oregon State University’s Austin Entrepreneurship Program.

The Enterprise Challenge is an opportunity for OSU students to present their new business ideas to experts including successful entrepreneurs, senior executives, venture advisers, and investors.

“The Enterprise Challenge gives students the opportunity to learn by doing,” said Christopher Klemm, director of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program. “Students are building upon their courses in entrepreneurship, using what they learned and taking that knowledge into practical business applications.”

The winning team was Northwest Phytoproducts, which is seeking funding to begin production of the specialty chemical shikimic acid, which can be used in a flu antiviral medication. The students on the team were MBA student Sanjai Tripathi, Biological and Ecological Engineering graduate student, Wesley Miller, and Colin Hildebrandt and Matt Bertram, both seniors in chemical engineering.

“The strength of our team, and I think why we won, is how diverse we were,” Tripathi said. “We all had different skill sets that would help us to actually make this business happen.”

Finishing second was CSR Robotics, which developed a remotely controlled reconnaissance vehicle, known as The Seeker, for use within the law enforcement industry. CSR Robotics, which included Chris Johnston, Scott Zenier and Richard Walloch, won $5,000.

The third place prize went to NeoHope, which has developed two products aimed at increasing the survival rate for patients of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The team included Joel Meyers, Robin Weber, Sithiphon Suwanboriban, Reed Reeve, and Brandice Miller.

Twelve student finalist teams submitted and presented business plans, which were then evaluated by a panel of judges.

For more information on the Austin Entrepreneurship Program, go to:

About the OSU College of Business: The college prepares profession-ready graduates with expertise in entrepreneurship and sustainable business practices. It is home to the Austin Family Business Program – a national leader in working with family businesses – as well as the nation’s largest residential entrepreneurship initiative, the Austin Entrepreneurship Program.