Triton founder and President, Andrew Oster, recently participated in the annual Love’s Cup Entrepreneurship competition, as an oral competition judge in the undergraduate high-growth division. The intent of this competition, sponsored by Love’s Travel Stores and hosted by i2E, Inc., is to expose students to real world experiences and to enhance their entrepreneurial skills while expanding career options after graduation. The Loves Cup, formerly the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup, has been around Oklahoma for 20 years, in which time nearly 2300 college students have taken the challenge. This competition has awarded students $1.95M in cash, $140K in scholarships and $250K in fellowships to encourage these college students in their continued endeavors. The Love’s Cup competition has produced more than 700 innovative ideas from 35 campuses state wide of which more than 35 have gone on to become i2E clients.
The Love’s Cup competition is open to all full-time enrolled students in Oklahoma colleges and universities and provides a forum to present their ideas and business plans to some of the city’s leaders in business an innovation. There are two categories of student groups: The High Growth Division and the Small Business Division. The High Growth Division students are to write a business plan around a high growth concept in industries such as healthcare, information technology/communications, manufacturing, material science, transportation, energy and environmental, or students generated design. While students may compete in the High Growth Division, the Small Business division offers the opportunity to write business plans around any business concept, such as a high growth opportunity or more traditional small business opportunities such as a retail operation, a service business, or a restaurant. The business needs to be original or demonstrate strategic creativity, instead of a simple replication of an existing proven business model.
Students in both divisions had to build a team, write a business plan, and create their vision and bring it to life. There were several rounds to the competition in which various business leaders and potential investors from around Oklahoma were asked to judge the student’s business plans, pitches and investor presentations. Students had to prepare for interviews, oral presentations, and written reviews. The winners were announced at the Awards Dinner on Thursday April 18th 2019. The room was full of undergraduate and graduate students alike waiting anxiously for winners to be announced. The lineup of speakers included Lt Governor Matt Pinnell, President of i2E Scott Meacham, Loves Representative Jenny Love Meyer, just to name a few. Pinnell himself an entrepreneur who credited that to his wife who had an idea on how to make life better for moms- she created Binxy Baby® Shopping Cart Hammock, allowing busy moms to clip the hammock to just about any shopping cart leaving plenty of room for groceries below the baby. Matt and Lisa Pinnell found that about 24,000 kids a year are treated in hospital emergency rooms because of shopping cart related injuries. This inspired her to create a safe way to take your babies with you to the grocery store. Matt was able to share his unique point of view with students coming from the other side of creating their own business.
The evening was filled with inspirational speeches encouraging students to continue dreaming and creating a better world, creating more jobs in Oklahoma and encouraging these young entrepreneurs to continue their business ventures whatever they may be here in Oklahoma City.
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