Storage Bid Auction Site Wins Annual Business Plan Competition


Eastern Michigan University senior Adam Krauer won first place for his business plan for an online auction site where customers bid for unused storage unit spaces in an annual competition at EMU that recognizes entrepreneurial ingenuity.

“It was an amazing experience,” says Krauer, a finance major from Goodrich. “It was an incredible day for EMU, and for how it is spreading entrepreneurship.”

In its seventh year, the Skandalaris Business Plan Competition requires students to submit a hard-copy business plan with an executive summary and financials, all of the basic essentials, as well as an eight-minute presentation, says Paul Nucci, spokesman for the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which hosts the contest.

Nucci says Krauer’s submission stood out not only because of his innovative idea, but also because of the research he put it into. “Sometimes we see an innovative idea and then the business plan falls apart. But (Krauer) had a great idea and a great plan — it jumped out to us,” says Nucci, adding that the center is currently working with Krauer to bring his idea for into fruition. Krauer won $1,000 and plans to use the award for seed money for his business.

What separates the annual EMU Skandalaris Business Plan Competition from others in the state is the fact that it’s open to high school students, Nucci says. This year, the competition drew 40 submissions from college students, and 25 from those in high school.

In the high school category, Kunal Garg from Troy High School placed first for “Your Foods,” a mobile application that stores recipes for several meal options based on ingredients available at home. He won $1,000 for first place and also earned $200 for having the best presentation among high school entrants.

“We offer the companion high school program because it’s a way to start sharing entrepreneurship with students at a younger age,” Nucci says. “A lot of high schools have business programs or student stores, but they don’t always have entrepreneurship programs.”

At the University of Michigan, a team of Wayne State University students recently won the $10,000 Mobile/Web award for “DragAroundMe,” which provides a way to share, transfer, and receive files without having to register for an account, through the Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize program — another competition that aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Michigan.

“Participating in the MCI Prize program has been an amazing journey for us,” said Kun Wang, one of the team’s members, along with Juan Chen, Bradlee W. Johnson, and Natalia Maria Kumar. “We received a lot of good suggestions from the teaching team as well as our mentor, and we learned all the necessary pieces of building and growing a tech startup.”