Growth potential for new firms leads to prizes

April 23, 2013 10:00 AM

Mark Miester

Be Well Nutrition, maker of a new, healthy lifestyle beverage, and Haystack EDU, an online platform that connects teachers with schools, were the big winners at the 13th annual Tulane Business Plan Competition hosted by the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association on Friday (April 19) at the A. B. Freeman School of Business.

Tulane Business Plan Competition

Billy Bosch pitches Be Well Nutrition's Iconic health drink to judges at the Tulane Business Plan Competition. Bosch said the prize money will help the company complete its next production run, which is expected to cost about $70,000. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

Be Well earned this year’s grand prize of $50,000 with its plan for Iconic, an all-natural meal replacement drink that’s high in protein and low in sugar. According to Michelle Chatelain, Be Well’s director of business development, the functional beverage market is dominated by drinks that promise protein, energy or alertness, but up until now no product has offered all three attributes in one drink.

“Iconic is the answer to this problem,” Chatelain said. “It’s the only beverage out there that's straddling all three of the fastest-growing industries in this area.”

“Be Well has a very differentiated nutritional product that the market is starting to realize it needs,” said competition judge John Bertuzzi, a private investor and former managing director at Goldman Sachs. “I think it has very good potential to be an attractive addition in stores where the consumer looks for that type of differentiated product.”

In the third annual Domain Cos. New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge, which highlights startup companies with the potential to positively impact the local economy, Haystack EDU founder Thomas Hayes earned the $20,000 grand prize for developing a website that helps match teachers with schools and other opportunities.

“It was really the growth potential that attracted us,” said contest judge Matt Schwartz, principal of the Domain Cos. “We thought that our prize could really make a difference in giving him a shot, and if he’s ultimately successful, we think that will translate into benefits to New Orleans on a number of different levels.”

Mark Miester is the editor of Freeman magazine for the A. B. Freeman School of Business.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu