Washburn University students won first place in the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Worldwide Business Plan Competition. Kennedy White, a 2016 business graduate from Holton, senior business major Connor England, Topeka, and junior mass media major Mark Feuerborn, Overland Park, won the competition with their idea and a business plan for D18, a service that helps restaurants, manufacturers, and hotels save money by identifying tax exemption opportunities within their utility charges. The company also works on behalf of its clients to obtain tax refunds and to plan for future energy and tax savings.
The Washburn team was one of three teams to advance to the final round and participate via Skype in a live question and answer session with a panel of judges on May 19. The trio was awarded a championship trophy and €1,250 (a little over $1,800) in cash.
“Getting the news that we made first place was incredible," Feuerborn said. "The rest of the day felt like a dream. I'm so happy our efforts paid off.”
His teammate Kennedy White added that the best part about this international win is the fact that D 18 is real.
"It's not simply an idea with a business plan, but a real business that we are actually launching," he said. "I believe that is what made the difference.”
All three of the team members agreed the competition was tough, but they found it to be a positive experience.
“Every step was hard -- from the initial entry of our business plan, to defending our case both in writing and in the live question and answer sessions," England said. "Throughout, the competition required us to pull on all we've learned thus far.”
The entire group said they also appreciated the encouragement and assistance from faculty members in Washburn’s School of Business.
“The supportive atmosphere at Washburn fosters creativity and implementation,” White said, “I don't think we would have been nearly as prepared and wouldn't have won without all of the support we got at Washburn.”