by Rachel Roubein | Photo: Matthew Creger | Printed in the University of Maryland Diamondback
Just a few short years ago, Amanda Nachman was the typical college student, frantically juggling schoolwork with sorority life, club field hockey practices, internships and more. But as of Friday afternoon, she is $15,000 richer.
The recent university graduate is the founder and publisher of College Media Group and is the first-place winner of the Cupid’s Cup Business Competition, an event organized by the business school. About 300 people gathered in Frank Auditorium and in designated overflow rooms in Van Munching Hall to watch the competition unfold.
The competition, a “battle of the entrepreneurs,” featured five different start-up companies that fought – in the form of a well-organized 10-minute presentation – for the ultimate prize: money. The prize money is used to further the winner’s business endeavors, bestowing them with the gift of financial leeway.
College Media Group, which produces a tri-weekly e-newsletter, a quarterly College magazine and maintains an interactive website, provides insight into the life of a college student, from resumé building to living with a roommate who’s a drug dealer, Nachman said.
“I love the college experience, and wanted to help students further their journalism experience,” she said.
College Media Group was also the winner of an additional $2,500 from the People’s Choice Award, an online poll where people could vote for their favorite company.
Other winners include the 2nd place Student Sherpas, a company that provides college students with affordable storage and shipping for their belongings during the summer, and the 3rd place Healthy Happy Snacks, which produces nutritious snacks containing 50 calories per serving. These companies won $7,500 and $2,500, respectively.
Other competitors included Tees and Tats, a T-shirt company with designs by distinguished tattoo artist Marco Serio, and Maryland Youth Football, a company that provides year-round football camps and skills training at a statewide level.
At the second Cupid’s Cup in 2007, Goozex, an online video game trading website, won first place and has since experienced a 300 percent growth from 2007 into 2008. It is now the “leading online game trading service in North America,” according to a flier handed out at the event.
Mark Nebesky, the co-founder and CMO of Goozex, said that winning first place in the competition was great for his company.
“It gave us, at the time, breathing room and an opportunity,” Nebesky said. Cupid’s Cup Business Competition is now in its 4th year, thanks to the generous support of university alumnus Kevin Plank, the founder and CEO of Under Armour.
“Kevin Plank is doing amazing things by promoting entrepreneurship the way he does,” sophomore Adam Van Wagner said. Van Wagner is an entrepreneur himself as the CEO of Fairview Enterprises, a company that rents televisions to nursing homes.
To enter the competition, contestants must be enrolled at the university or graduated between May 2005 and December 2008. Each must have started a company that has produced between $5,000 and $500,000 in revenue.
Plank encourages students to never doubt their abilities nor cite the economy for their lack of pursuing their ideas, referring to this as “loser talk.”
“There is no better time to start a business than right now. This thing is going to end,” Plank said, referring to the current economic recession.