WPS was among the sponsors for the inaugural Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament for University of Wisconsin student entrepreneurs.
Madison, WI—April 28, 2014
A team from UW-Milwaukee placed first among 10 competing April 5 in Madison. The team advances to the 40-team field at the International Business Model Competition in Provo, Utah, May 1-3.
The team is comprised of two Air National Guard members, Tom Burden and Janie Asberry, and Air Force veteran Shawn Petros. They are developing non-corrosive mats on which aerospace mechanics can stand or place tools. Their company, Grypshon, is planning to sell products to the military.
The Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament was organized by the University of Wisconsin-Extension. Besides WPS, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and American Family Insurance helped sponsor the event. A matching grant was provided by the UW System.
“This inaugural program set the framework for growth and expansion of Lean Startup training and idea development for students within the UW System,” said Mark Lange, executive director of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development for UW-Extension.
Grypshon also qualifies for the first round of the Ideadvance seed fund administered by UW-Extension and funded by the UW System and WEDC. Depending on the business milestones attained, the team could earn up to $25,000 to advance its product.
The Wisconsin runner-up was Long-term Health Solutions, comprised of Spencer Beard and Bradley Price of UW-Eau Clare. They are targeting aging populations for specialized home remodeling and installation of health care technology.
Third-place finisher Atlas Investments – comprised of Parker Lenz, Joseph Neff, and Eric Sajdak of UW Oshkosh – pitched innovative investment products for financial brokers.
All three top finishers earned an interview with gener8tor, one of the Midwest ’s leading startup accelerators.
The “People’s Choice Winner” – based on number of Twitter votes – was Billboard Brew founded by Cory DeRuiter of UW-Oshkosh to provide advertising for cup-related businesses.
About WPS Health Insurance
Founded in 1946, WPS is Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer, offering affordable individual health insurance, family health insurance, high-deductible health insurance, and short-term health plans, as well as flexible and affordable group plans and cost-effective benefit plan administration for businesses. The WPS Medicare division administers Part A and B benefits for millions of seniors in multiple states, and the WPS TRICARE division serves millions more members of the U.S. military and their families. In 2014, the international Ethisphere® Institute named WPS one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the fifth straight year. WPS is the only health insurance company to earn this distinction five times. For more information about WPS, visit www.wpsic.com.