DENVER – CaraSolva, a software company that helps caregivers who deal with long term disabilities, took first prize Thursday in the 9th annual Business Plan competition sponsored by the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Denver School of Business.
The year-old company took home $10,000. A second place prize of $5,000 went to UrgentRx/Breakthrough Products which created single doses of medication like aspirin in credit card-sized packets. And the third place prize of $2,500 was awarded to Diego Zhang’s Burger Café, which produces gourmet mini-burgers.
There were six finalists this year who spent Thursday morning pitching business plans to a panel of three judges at the Grand Hyatt. Each competitor had 15 minutes to make their case.
Ultimately CaraSolva won the day on the strength of an exceptionally well done business plan that answered many of the questions posed by the judges.
The company creates software for long term care facilities which tracks patient medications, treatment and activities.
“We are focusing on a growing, aging population,” said Geoff Cooper, president and Chief Executive Officer of CaraSolva and a former business professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “We deliver critical care while preserving the patient’s dignity and we do it in a cost-effective way.”
The other three finalists received $1,000 each. Shelter-Me Photography, which does artistic portraits of animals in shelters to help them get adopted, won $2,500 in the non-profit category. The other two contestants were Physical Activity Innovations, which created a shoe insert with sensors that could detect how far a person walked and ePrepSolutions which designs software for cities and towns.
The Bard Center was established in 1996 as part of the Business School at UC Denver and is designed to help boost the creation of successful businesses. The center is unique in providing classes, scholarships, internships, access to mentors and alumni networks to budding business leaders.
The center’s executive director, Catherine Kunst, said she was extremely pleased by the quality of the competition.
“They really are all winners,” she said. “I was especially impressed by the diversity of this competition. This is all about creating the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”
Located on the University of Colorado Denver’s downtown campus, the Business School is the largest accredited graduate school of business in Colorado with more than 18,000 alumni. The school serves more than 1,200 graduate students and 1,400 undergraduate students each year. Students and faculty are involved in solving real-world business problems as they collaborate on more than 100 projects with area businesses every semester through classroom work, guest lectures and research projects.
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