CSU Announces Winners of Business Plan Competition

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University recently held its sixth annual Business Plan Competition, hosted by the Turner College of Business.

Fifty-one plans were submitted to this year’s competition. Six finalists were selected to share more details of their business plans with a panel of judges, and three finalists were selected and awarded first, second and third place and cash prizes of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

(L-R) Michaela Waldeck, Ta Ta Toga; Kirk Heriot, Crowley Chair of Entrepreneurship Marketing and Management in CSU's Turner College of Business; Lou Childs, SlumberPod; Marc Baker, Conquest Obstacle Gym

First place went to Ta Ta Toga, written by Michaela Waldeck, who graduated from CSU in May. The Ta Ta Toga is a multi-faceted, patent-pending product that makes breastfeeding less messy by absorbing milk, preventing leaks and protecting clothing. It also can serve as a burp cloth and privacy blanket. Waldeck tested the product with moms and made several prototypes before settling on the present design. Michaela expects to transition from the present craft production process to mass production within the next 6-12 months.

The second place winner was SlumberPod™, developed by Lou Childs and Katy Beck, a mother-daughter team. The SlumberPod™ is a pop-up tent that completely encloses a portable crib, creating the perfect atmosphere for babies and toddlers to get a good night’s sleep. The product has gone through several stages of testing and improvements, and Childs and Beck have already secured investors for future production.

Third place went to Conquest Obstacle Gym, presented by Marc Baker. Conquest Obstacle Gym is the only facility available to practice completing actual obstacles similar to those found at race venues. Baker, who completed Airborne and Ranger training and served in combat as an Army Ranger, recently graduated from CSU. He is in the final stage of closing a $100,000 Small Business Administration loan and plans to open his gym this summer in Chattanooga, Tenn.

CSU’s Turner College of Business will host the 2018 Business Plan Competition next spring. The contest is open to all CSU students and community members. For more information, visit business.columbusstate.edu/businessplan.