First-year Business students pitch innovations in annual Top Pup competition
Team RoadMed took home the first-place prize in the 2022 Top Pup, an entrepreneurial pitch competition designed exclusively for first-year students in Louisiana Tech University’s College of Business.
Providing early exposure to entrepreneurship and startup methodology, Top Pup teams develop and pitch their ideas, products, or businesses as part of the “Introduction to Business and Entrepreneurship” course. The winning team from each quarter then completes for the grand prize in the Spring.
Winners Joseph Curtin, Brandon Roberts, Daniel Conzonere, and Jacob Allen collaborated to create RoadMed, a pharmaceutical delivery company.
“We came up with RoadMed when our teammate, Daniel, had to leave a group meeting to bring his roommate medicine,” Allen said. “We thought it would be better if someone could deliver medicine right to your front door.”
The students developed a business plan, including a competitor analysis, financial projections, short- and long-term goals, and marketing strategies to pitch their innovative concept.
“Through this competition, we learned that, as a group, we needed to not only think through all the details when it comes to business plans, but to also trust the product and trust ourselves,” Allen said.
Members of each winning team received scholarship funds thanks to the generosity of Matt and Catherine Saurage, who are both alumni of Louisiana Tech.
“I’m proud of these students for showing an interest in entrepreneurship and putting in the work required to pitch their business plan,” said Matt Saurage, who serves as Chairman of the Board for Community Coffee Company. “I became engaged in this project because I want to encourage these bright young entrepreneurs to pursue their passions, remain bold and forward-thinking, and continue to seek creative solutions through innovation.”
The second-place team featured Caitlin Cantrell, Haley Minton, Peyton Edgar, and Van Matherne. Their concept, Ruston Refill, is an independent store aimed at reducing waste by selling non-packaged personal care items.
“From this experience, I learned that communication and dedication are paramount when creating a business plan,” Matherne said. “Each team member had to not only pull their weight, but also give constructive criticism to the others. As we worked on this project, we often bounced ideas off each other until we came up with something we agreed was of substance and value to our company.”
Team P.U.P.R. was awarded third place for their robotic device that serves several purposes. The Personal Utility Pickup & Retriever (P.U.P.R.), created to resemble a dog, helps differently abled individuals go hunting by acting as the retriever. Team members Jacob Sneed, Tate Towns, Johnny Law, and Landon Nelson also explained that the P.U.P.R. was being tested to search burning or dangerous buildings during disasters.
Each undergraduate student in the College of Business is required to take “Introduction to Business and Entrepreneurship,” which serves as the foundation for all eight business majors. Through the course, students are introduced to entrepreneurship, one of the College’s core themes alongside innovation and technology.