Alissa Gamache, of Chaska, was one of six students in Richard Anderson’s entrepreneurship class. And now Gamache, along with her group Scatja, is one of 47 semi-finalists selected to compete in this year’s Minnesota Cup.
The Minnesota Cup is an annual, statewide competition that seeks out aspiring entrepreneurs and their breakthrough ideas.
“It feels great,” said Gamache, when asked about her reaction to finding out they had been chosen among more than 1,000 en-tries. “I feel confident.”
In class, Scatja (formed using the first letter from each of the group member’s names) came up with an idea for a smart phone ap-plication used in the kitchen. That idea became the basis for their entry in the Minnesota Cup.
The Kitchen Inventory Tracker (KIT) “helps consumers make better food-related decisions.” “It helps people manage and budget in their everyday life,” said Gamache. “So you’re not wasting food and money.”
The app keeps track of kitchen inventory and product shelf life.
“Everyone can use it,” said Gamache. “It’s very universal.”
Gamache’s group is competing in the student division with eight other semi-finalists for a chance at $10,000 in seed capital (non-student groups can win $25,000.) Each division will be whittled down to the top three finalists next week. Division winners will be announced on Sept. 8 with one grand prize winner receiving an additional $25,000 for their idea.
Could KIT be that breakthrough idea the judges are looking for?
“It’s something I would use,” said Gamache, of their app. “I know I put everything in my smart phone.”
Entries are judged based on the strength of the idea and the business plan with the greatest innovation being highly valued. Im-plementation is another area judges must consider. According to the Minnesota Cup website, judges are looking for ideas that can generate a positive economic impact within two years. And finally, entries are judged based on the quality of the presentation.
Scatja is currently in Round Two of the competition and are fine tuning their 20-page business plan. If they make it to the finals, they’ll be asked to give a 10-minute oral presentation to the review board.
CONCEPT TO REALITY
While KIT is just a concept at this point, Gamache is hopeful that it will one day be a real application. “Hopefully if it’s being cre-ated, it’s by us,” she said.
Win or lose, Gamache said that participation in the Minnesota Cup has been a great opportunity for her class. Her teacher would agree.
“This has been more than just a learning process for them,” said Anderson in a press release. “It has been a growing process. To have to act as a management committee and make decisions that would affect the business, resolve conflict and maintain principals of an ethical business person was challenging at times, but incredibly rewarding to them.
“I believe this project has better prepared them for their business future,” he continued. “I think it gave them a greater apprecia-tion for the skills they have learned and the confidence that they could deal with any business issue and be successful.”
Gamache graduated from the business school in June with her bachelor’s degree in accounting. She said she has learned a lot from her entrepreneurship class and the Minnesota Cup competition.
“This really opened my eyes to the possibilities,” she said.
“Everyday people, we have great ideas,” Gamache added. “No idea is too small.”