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May 27, 2009

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

UT Tyler School of Business Administration Announces 2009 Big Idea Challenge Winners

First place winners in the 2009 Big Idea Challenge (from left) are: Emile Haskins,

Kat Welge, Mark Foxworth, Tiffany Grissaffi, Jeff  Hawthorne and Cheryl Henson.

Students at The University of Texas at Tyler won the top cash prizes for their creative ideas at the School of Business Administration 2009 Big Idea Challenge Competition, Dr. Isaura Flores, UT Tyler professor of management and Center for Entrepreneurship director, announced.

Fourteen student-groups envisioned an innovative business idea and presented their idea to a panel of judges representing the business community. The event was open to both UT Tyler students and area college students.

University students Mark Foxworth of Kilgore; Tiffany Grissaffi of Palestine; Emilie Haskins of Tyler; Jeff Hawthorne of Farmers Branch; Cheryl Henson of Tyler; and Kat Welge of Longview took the $500 first-place prize for their “Smart Bottle” idea – a baby bottle designed with the convenience of mixing formula without the hassle of carrying each supply needed.

University student and military veteran Paul Miles of Hallsville received the $300 second-place prize for his “FOLKS Light” idea – a device to help soldiers detect land bombs.

Dr. Greg Clary with the Texas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship; Donald Proudfoot, Tyler Junior College Small Business Development Center director; and Price Arredondo, Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce member, judged the event.

“Students who are interested in entrepreneurship should take a class we’re offering this fall,” Flores said.

Small Business and Entrepreneurship (MANA 3325) is open to all majors and has no prerequisites, she added.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. Nearly 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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