Northwood student wins business competition by creating line of salsas

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The creation of a line of salsas without common food allergens won the first prize from a Northwood University student at the Bauervic Business Pitch 2020-21 competition.

Entrepreneurship runs deep into Northwood’s culture and curriculum, producing a constant flow of young people with original ideas and the know-how to bring them to market. This is the 11th year that the Bauervic Business Pitch competition, sponsored by the Charles M. Bauervic Foundation, supports this mission by offering Northwood student teams the opportunity to design and develop a start-up business concept, then to present it to judges with real world experience. A total of $ 6,000 in prizes was available to the 16 students and student teams that entered the contest.


This year’s competition has been adapted in several ways as part of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Instead of the usual in-person presentation of business plans to the judges, the students prepared video presentations. The presentations, which usually take place in November each year, have been delayed until January to give students time to produce their videos.

But the students were not discouraged, as evidenced by the high quality of the entries, said John Gustincic, a Northwood faculty member overseeing the competition. Here is a summary of the winning entries:

The first place winning entry of $ 3,000 went to Mitchell Willman for “The Willman’s Brands,” a line of salsas made without ingredients that commonly cause food allergies. Willman is allergic to several ingredients that prevent him from eating many common foods. This motivated him to develop salsas that will meet the special dietary needs of people with allergies. It is currently pursuing several intellectual property protections for its products.

Second place of $ 2,000 went to Joseph Rupert and Brendon Krimmel for “Layman’s Bedding,” built around a product innovation that they hope will revolutionize the bedding industry. Joseph and Brendon are pursuing a patent for innovation through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Third place of $ 500 was a tie with one of the winners being Olivia Haring for “Hot Tots,” a line of bras specially designed for women being treated for breast cancer. Olivia lives with her aunt, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2020. She has learned that patients have different needs at each stage of treatment, so she has developed a bra to suit these changing needs. Olivia hopes to file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the near future.

Molly Dickinson also won third place of $ 500 for ‘Benched’, a company that will educate female athletes, parents and coaches about a condition known as the Female Athlete Triad, which can lead to problems such as bone damage, osteoporosis and infertility. Molly was diagnosed with the disease in high school, but became a college athlete. She now hopes to help others achieve their athletic goals without sacrificing their well-being.

“A common connection between this year’s nominations is that they turn a challenge into an opportunity,” said Gusincic. “I am tempted to point out that such a state of mind is invaluable during troubled times like what we have been through lately, but the truth is that the world is always filled with challenges, and the state of mind of Northwood students gives them a big advantage in any environment.

In addition to the competition winners, the Bauervic Business Pitch competition also presented the Community Impact Award to Northwood students Kennedy Vancalbergh and Shay Milley, who recently opened Energize Midland, a healthy tea and shake store in North East Midland.


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