An eco-friendly stroller and car seat cleaning service is named the best business plan in this year’s Kellogg Cup
6/24/2010 - When Jennifer Beall ’10 went on the hunt for a good business idea, she had one thing in mind — making life easier for working moms. After picking the brain of every mom she encountered, one finally gave her the idea that helped her team win the 2010 Kellogg Cup Business Plan Competition.
“I had been searching for a year for any sort of business idea that would improve work/life balance for working moms, something that would save time and frustration,” she said. “Then one mom that I met said, ‘I wish somebody would clean that [child’s] car seat for me, please.’”
Beall and team members Robert Li ’10, Sam Liang ’10, Myehla Reneau ’10 and Mia Tucker ’10 granted the mom’s wish with Spotless Strollers & Seats, an eco-friendly, mobile cleaning service for baby seats and strollers. Their business plan won them the coveted $7,000 first prize in the annual competition, the goal of which is to expand students’ understanding of the dedication, skill and hard work required to establish new ventures.
Fifty teams participated in three rounds of competition that culminated in the finals, which also served as the finale to the Kellogg Alumni Entrepreneur Conference
and the first Northwestern Entrepreneurship Week
, held May 17-26. More than 1,000 attendees participated in a collection of events hosted by various entrepreneurial organizations across Northwestern University, including lectures by 37signals CEO and founder Jason Fried and OpenTable, Inc. founder Chuck Templeton
The competition was judged by a panel of distinguished professionals, including Marc J. Lane, founder of Marc J. Lane Wealth Group, Julia Stamberger, founder of GoPicnic and Doug Grimsted, founder and CEO of Aginity.
The competition featured three other finalist teams:
- Dry Goods, led by Brandon Cornuke ’10 and Tim Joyce ’10
- SmartSense Power, led by Carl P. Evans III ’11 and Dheeraj (Raj) Sultanian ’11
- and IOS Financial, led by Brandon Hinkle and Ryan McElvogue.
Each of the teams put in a great deal of hard work to reach the finals, Kellogg Cup moderator Scott Whitaker ’97 said. Whitaker is the associate director of the Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice
, which sponsored the event. Many of the teams took part in his Entrepreneurship and New Venture Formulation
“I’m pleased that students put their best effort into this competition,” he said. “There’s a correlation between the finalists and the number of hours and days and months they’ve put into practicing. The passion is always very high in every participant, as well as the dedication and desire. So showing well has to do with having done it several times.”
The Spotless Strollers & Seats team has been working on its plan since September, participating in a number of student competitions and fine-tuning the venture via lessons learned in Kellogg classes and from feedback from alumni mentors. Winning the Kellogg Cup gives the group the confidence to move forward to bring the company to fruition, Tucker said.
“I think the business has such potential, and I think this proves that the opportunity is there,” she said. “I can’t wait to see it.”