Student Business Treads Path to Success

Stephen Chapek
eBusiness Monthly Newsletter
June 1 2003


At the culmination of Brigham Young University's annual Business Plan Competition, a budding student business named Property Solutions won first-place honors.

The top finisher won not only the satisfaction of beating out 38 other competitors, but also a $50,000 award, half in cash, and the other half in free business services.

"I'm overwhelmed, really excited about winning," said Property Solutions team leader and CEO David Bateman, who is a BYU undergraduate business major. "The award money will allow us to take our company a lot further without giving away our equity."

Property Solutions, a business that launched in November, provides an integrated software solution for property management companies that allows tenants to submit maintenance requests, pay rent online and enhance management efficiency.

Other members of the Property Solutions team include BYU undergraduates Mike Trionfo and Ben Zimmer. Two non-students, Jordan Jones and Jeramy Morrill, round out the management team and are business associates of David Bateman, who already has another successful start-up business to his credit, DearElder.com, a letter expediting service for Mormon missionaries.

'The business plan competition, which has become a campus-wide tradition in its 10 years of existence is a "capstone experience" for ambitious students in the entrepreneur program at the university," said Don Livingstone, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at BYU, which sponsors the competition.

Although traditionally, many MBA students at the Marriott School of Management have participated in the competition, it is open to all BYU students and in the last year in particular, organizers have broadened the appeal of the competition to students of all majors and levels, according to Steve Arner, student director of the competition. The competition is entirely student run with faculty oversight providing guidance.

Several past winners of the Business Plan Competition have gone on to national success, including the company 1-800 Contacts, Inc., from the 1995 competition, a direct sales contact lens provider that today has market value of $268 million on the NASDAQ exchange.

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