Animatronic stag wins SIUE business plan competition

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EDWARDSVILLE — TheOther40 Business Plan Competition offers students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville the opportunity to take a business idea through the steps necessary to launch a product or service.

The SIUE School of Business held its 11th competition in 2021, which concluded on April 26 with an online video pitch. Over $10,000 in cash prizes were awarded to finalists.

SIUE School of Engineering senior Timothy Nodorft and his team won first place and $5,000 with BambAI, a remote-controlled animatronic deer decoy that mimics the behavior of deer.


“BambAI’s winning pitch combined an innovative idea with real market potential,” said Tim Schoenecker, PhD, Dean of the School of Business.

“We hope the prize money will help this team bring their prototype closer to market,” Schoenecker said. I will be excited to see where BambAI goes in the future.

Second prize of $3,000 was won by Eli Hawkins with ETCH. Enterprise is a dual-sided app and website designed to reduce barriers between the workforce and hiring companies by enabling companies to educate employees before hiring.

Jeanna Picha with ALGO News won third place and $2,000. ALGO News is a unique daily video accessible on your phone from an app that provides viewers with accurate and unbiased personalized news.

Other finalists included Carter McCall (Sonomu Games LLC), Nathan Macklin (All-in-One Sports Collectables and Memorabilia) and Jared Lauritson (Check It!).

TheOther40 gets its name from data that shows around 60% of startups fail within five years. The goal of the program is to find, engage and support the remaining 40%. The competition is supported by an Entrepreneurship Education Initiative Grant provided to the SIUE School of Business by the Martinson Foundation.

This year, an additional prize of one year of “free connectivity” is offered to each of the three winners thanks to T-Mobile.

“The pandemic has brought many challenges this year, and I greatly appreciate the efforts of the SIUE CEOU student team to keep TheOther40 alive for an 11th consecutive year,” Schoenecker said. “In particular, I would like to thank School of Business seniors Jacob Bloemker, Sophie Tremblay and Madison Magee for managing all aspects of TheOther40 and ensuring the competition ran smoothly. I also appreciate the efforts of our Small Business Development Center and Director Jo Ann DiMaggio May to provide workshops to participants and identify judges for the various rounds of the competition.


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