UA, JBU Teams Win Business Plan Honors in Las Vegas

Teams from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and John Brown University at Siloam Springs each brought home $25,000 first-place prizes in the Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State Award business plan competition in Las Vegas. Tears for Life, the UA’s winning business plan in the graduate student division, is a medical diagnostic equipment company that is developing a non-invasive tear test kit that will screen women for breast cancer using proteins found in tears. It is led by three MBA candidates – Jared Greer, Bessie Williams and Chris Elizer – and an undergraduate business student, Jordan Greer, with medical expertise from two UAMS professors, Dr. Suzanne Klimberg and Dr. Michael Douglas. The Tears for Life team also received $1,000 for first place in the “elevator pitch” competition. JBU’s Progressive Solutions took first place in the undergraduate division with its first product: Higher Hangers, patented clothes hangers that reduce clutter and create new closet space by raising garments vertically. The founder of Progressive Solutions and inventor of the Higher Hanger is Drew Cleaver, a 2009 candidate for a bachelor’s degree in business management. Progressive Solutions also took the $1,000 elevator pitch prize for undergraduates. The winners competed against finalists from business plan competitions in Oklahoma and Nevada, as well as other finalists from Arkansas. The other Arkansas teams that made the finals were Thanks Bud, a graduate finalist from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Creatively Mine, and undergraduate finalist also from John Brown University.