VandV 1st IowaVandV 2nd Johns HopkinsVandV 3rd GVSU

TCU Neeley School of Business Awards $79,700 to Student Entrepreneurs in the 2017 Values and Ventures® Competition

The top 18 student teams out of 51 universities won cash and in-kind prizes in the unique competition that rewards plans for businesses that make a profit while making a difference.  

April 24,  2017

By Elaine Cole

College students from 51 universities came to TCU April 21-22, 2017, for the seventh annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures® Competition, to pitched plans for businesses that benefit a specific population, community and/or the environment while making a profit. The annual competition is presented by the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center at TCU.

More than 100 business professionals served as judges and mentors to provide a solid base of knowledge about the viability of startup businesses.

Cash prizes totaled $79,700 and in-kind services totaled $150,000.

First Place and $25,000 was awarded to the University of Iowa for Health Tech Solution to innovate and improve the organ transplant process to save more lives through more intelligent communication.

“You have to be relentless and never give up, to continue to fight until it is successful and it becomes what you wanted it to be. I’ve embodied that since my accident when I hit rock bottom. That’s the perfect launch pad,” said Dalton Shaull, human physiology major at Iowa who suffered a car accident and became a nerve transplant recipient. Shaull will use the winning funds to hire a sales professional to help scale the business.  

The largest competition of its kind, TCU’s Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures® Competition was co-founded by Nancy Tartaglino Richards and Lisa Barrentine of First Preston HT in partnership with the TCU Neeley School of Business. It is presented annually by the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center. Since 2010, 230 teams have vied for nearly $400,000 in cash prizes and $850,000 in kind. At least 90 companies have launched. The unique aspect of the competition is that all plans must be for-profit ventures with a significant values component.

2017 TCU Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures® Winners

Grand Prize $25,000


$75,000 in kind*

University of Iowa

Health Tech Solutions modernizes communication in organ transplant, using a real-time mobile software application that is HIPAA compliant and facilitates instantaneous communication and information flow.

Second Place $15,000


$15,000 in kind*

Johns Hopkins University

Treyetech has developed a device for corneal surgery that eliminates difficult aspects of the procedure for surgeons by modifying the workflow and reallocating steps to skilled eye bank technicians.

Third Place $10,000


$10,000 in kind*

Grand Valley State University

Stir It Up Bakery provides proprietary training and meaningful employment to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to empower them and decrease turnover for employers.

Honorable Mention     $2,500

University of California-Irvine

Closed Loop Plastics transforms plastic waste from 3D printing, campus life and ocean plastics into usable filament for further innovation. The entire process uses only renewable energy.

Honorable Mention     $2,500

University of Michigan

Kulisha offers a wastewater treatment solution for food and beverage processing plants that converts organic biosolid waste products into a sustainable insect-based protein for use in animal feeds.

Honorable Mention     $2,500

University of Pikeville

CitrOHa has created an all-natural functional dog food additive with an antioxidant and nutritional blend derived from the seeds and peels of lemon-byproducts from citrus juice manufacturing.

Honorable Mention     $2,500

University of Texas at Arlington

SolGro provides a nano-phosphor embedded plastic to replace greenhouse canopies with technology that amplifies the sun’s UV light by converting the color spectrum unused by plants into wavelengths needed for photosynthesis.

Honorable Mention     $2,500

University of Virginia

PAKA is an alpaca wool apparel company that gives Peruvian women weavers the resources to financially empower themselves. Sustainably is involved in all aspects, from natural dyes, to weaving, to the animal.

Honorable Mention $2,500 and

Founders Award $5,000

University of Chicago

Averia Health Solutions provides low-cost concussion sideline screening to young athletes using a device that leverages a smartphone’s camera and computational capabilities to make accurate eye tracking accessible.

Marjorie and James Sly Innovation Award        $2,500

Tarleton State University

TreeMendous Tree-Ps wrap around trees for easy-to-use micro-ecosystems that reduce water, energy and herbicide use by 75-90 percent. TreeMendous donates Tree-Ps to school and community gardens.

Ripple Effect Award        $5,000


Pōk The Raw bar serves primarily healthy, pure, poke raw fish bowls from Hawaii. Through its Imagine X Inspire program, the company partners with CASA Youth Shelter to transition foster teens into adulthood.

Elevator Pitch First Place  $1,000

University of Florida

Sci Chic provides 3D printed plastic and metal fashion jewelry to encourage young women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Elevator Pitch Second Place  $500

University of Western Ontario

TimeFund lets refugees in displaced communities share skills using time as currency. Refugees can contribute an hour of their time, for example cooking or translating, in exchange for a time coin they can use for other services.

Elevator Pitch Third Place (tie) $250

Washington University in St. Louis

GiftAMeal is a socially conscious marketing platform for restaurants, giving a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo at a participating restaurant.

Elevator Pitch Third Place (tie) $250

University of Alabama

BioGram LLC has adapted the panoramic lens used for rocket engine analysis to be part of a new device used to perform minimally invasive heart surgery and endoscopic cancer diagnosis procedures.

Elevator Pitch Honorable Mention        $100

Kennesaw State University

Art’NspirED LLC provides handmade products from World Fair Trade craftsmen across the globe, partnering with local schools to advertise while educating students about the nations where the products are created.

Elevator Pitch Honorable Mention        $100

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

RydePass reduces ride-share risk through a mobile platform that serves populations that are vulnerable due to lack of on-hand cash or credit, diminished capacity or located in high-risk areas.

* In-kind Awards

Grand Prize, University of Iowa - $75,000 worth of marketing/advertising services from Warren Douglas; 8 hours of IT consulting services from Comport Consulting; 3 hours of legal consulting services from Winstead PC and 15 hours financial consulting services from B2B CFO.

Second Place, Johns Hopkins - 3 hours of marketing/branding consulting services from Ascend Concepts; 6 hours of IT consulting services from Comport Consulting and 2 hours of legal consulting services from Winstead PC.

Third Place, Grand Valley State University - 3 hours of marketing/branding consulting services from LComm Marketing & Public Relations; 4 hours of IT consulting services from Comport Consulting and 1 hour of legal consulting services from Winstead PC.

Vision Award, University of Chicago - $25,000 worth of marketing and advertising services from Warren Douglas

For a complete list of 2017 participating universities, business plans, judges, mentors and sponsors, visit