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Dheeraj Sultanian ’11 and Carl P. Evans III ’11, both Kellogg JD-MBA students, represented Kellogg at the regional Wal-Mart Better Living Business Plan Challenge at the James L. Allen Center on Feb. 19.

Walmart Winners

Green innovation

The Kellogg School plays host to the regional round of the 2010 Wal-Mart Better Living Business Plan Challenge

By Amy Trang

3/3/2010 - Providing a better future for the world was the inspiration for students who traveled to Kellogg from as far away as Minnesota and Kentucky to compete in the Wal-Mart Better Living Business Plan Challenge.

The Kellogg School’s James L. Allen Center on Feb. 19 hosted the north regional round of the competition, which asked students to invent sustainable products or develop sustainable business solutions that would improve the quality of life for people, their children and future generations.

About a dozen students from four schools, including the Kellogg School, presented their business plans to a four-judge panel at the regional competition.

Kellogg JD-MBA students Carl P. Evans III ’11 and Dheeraj Sultanian ’11 represented the Kellogg School after winning Kellogg’s school-wide competition round in January.

Evans and Sultanian created a business plan, “SmartSense Power,” which would provide tools and sensors to measure one’s power usage and allow customers to monitor online how much energy they are using.

Though the team finished behind the University of Michigan, the Kellogg students said they will continue to move forward with the idea, and have plans to compete in future business plan competitions.

“This opportunity allows us to synthesize all the skills we are learning into something tangible,” Sultanian said.

Also competing in the north regional round were teams from the University of Minnesota and Bellarmine University.

Each team introduced an idea that would provide benefits in one or more of the following categories: preserving clean air, water, and soil; reducing waste; improving energy efficiency or developing renewable energy ideas; and promoting healthy living for people and communities.

The purpose behind the Wal-Mart challenge, said Bryan Lacina, director of energy strategy at Wal-Mart, is to encourage entrepreneurial expression and growth, as well as provide students a chance to develop confidence in presenting their ideas to business leaders and to receive feedback and constructive coaching.

“It brings unique ideas to bear in the market that might not get that opportunity otherwise and help fund those ideas,” said Lacina, also a judge for the regional competition. “We saw a lot of passion behind everyone’s project.”