Entrepreneurship Competition


The Rosen College Entrepreneurship Competition is an opportunity for students to take an idea for a hospitality-related product or service and develop a plan to bring it to market. Students may enter as individuals or teams and at least one person must be currently enrolled at Rosen College. Participants will compete for cash prizes that can assist with startup costs and help make their dreams a reality.

The competition is sponsored by BlurtBox, a mobile app that helps customers voice their complaints about a business and allows owners and managers to address customers in real time. The company’s CEO is Julien Meyer, ’14, a Rosen College alumnus who studied hospitality and event management at UCF while running his own startup company. Read more about Julien.

The top 3 finalists will receive the following cash prizes:

1st Place:

  • $5,000
  • Complimentary services from Broad and Cassel: Preparing basic organization documents for filing, a one-hour initial consultation and (2) 30-minute follow-up consultations at 3 and 6 months.

2nd Place:

  • $2,500
  • Complimentary one-hour consultation from Broad and Cassel*

3rd Place:

  • $1,000
  • Complimentary one-hour consultation from Broad and Cassel*

*This will be a joint session with the 2nd and 3rd Place winners.

As part of the initial submission, the team must elect how they want the prize money distributed. They can choose to either divide the money evenly among all of the members competing or make the check out to a business entity.

Important Dates

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 – Information Session
Room 102R, 9 a.m. or  10:30 a.m.

Students can attend one of two informational sessions that outlines the application process for the competition and offers insight into what the judges will be looking for.

Monday, February 15, 2016 – Applications Due

All submissions must be completed and turned in by 11:59 pm on February 15, 2016 for any team to be eligible for the competition. No individual extensions will be granted. A panel of judges will select proposals to be passed on to the next round of the competition.

Submission Guidelines:

Submissions should be a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 single spaced, Times New Roman 12pt, pages with 1” inch margins, addressing the topics listed in the judging guidelines. Please ensure that no information identifying individual team members is included in the submission file.

Click here to view the judging guidelines.

Thursday, February 25, 2016 – Finalists Announced

Finalists for the competition will be announced by email by 5:00 pm on Thursday, February 25, 2016. Finalists will be provided with specific instructions for their presentation, including the criteria they will be evaluated on and what to present in their slide decks.

Click here to view the finalists.

Monday, April 4, 2016 – Slide Decks Due

All slide decks must be submitted via email by 11:59 pm on Monday, April 4, 2016.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016  at 5:30 p.m. – Final Round
Rosen College Room 110

Finalists will present to a panel of judges a presentation of no more than 15 minutes with an additional 10 minutes of Q&A on their venture.

Click here to RSVP.

Eligibility Requirements

  • At least one team member must be a full-time University of Central Florida Rosen College student who has completed at least two full semesters at the university.
  • Revenues generated by the proposed venture must not have exceeded $50,000 in the last year.
  • The proposed venture must not have raised any more than $50,000 in venture capital as of January 1, 2016.
  • Submissions and presentations must be the original work of the team.


Tom Bland

Tom Bland, Chairman & CEO of Knight Guard Corp

Mr. Bland, a serial entrepreneur, is currently the Chairman and CEO of Knight Guard Corporation. Prior to KnightGuard Corporation, Mr. Bland was the Chairman and CEO of AquaFiber Technologies Corporation. Mr. Bland serves on the UCF College of Business Dean’s Advisory Board; is a member of the UCF College of Business Hall of Fame; was honored in 2010 with the College’s Professional Achievement Award and was honored by being selected as one of the College’s 50 outstanding alumni at the University’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.


Kaleb Harrell, Co-Founder of Hawkers Asian Street Fare

A serial entrepreneur, Kaleb Harrell has been involved in startups since 2005 when he launched his own branding agency with a partner. In 2011 he and his partners developed the restaurant concept, Hawkers Asian Street Fare which has now grown to 3 locations and has plans for 7 more locations in the next 24 months. Kaleb loves being in a strategic decision-making role with a growing business that is gaining national notoriety.


Gregg Hopkins, Vice President of Marketing of Newmarket, an Amadeus Company

Gregg Hopkins is the Vice President, Marketing of Newmarket, an Amadeus company (“Newmarket”). Mr. Hopkins joined Newmarket in 2011 as part of the acquisition by Newmarket of Libra OnDemand LLC, a hospitality-specific customer relationship management (“CRM”) solution, which he co-founded. Mr. Hopkins has over 30 years of experience in hotel operations and hospitality technology. He has worked with various enterprise property management, sales and catering, CRM, central reservation system providers, online travel agencies, and destination vacation portal solutions. He has also provided consulting services to organizations on hospitality technology, cloud-based technology, e-commerce, social media, CRM, marketing, sales strategy, and business development. He also participates as a committee or board member of several industry associations.


Joe Schiavo, Owner of Shepherd and Knucklehead Pub and UCF alumnus

Joseph Schiavo is an accomplished partner of The Shepherd & the Knucklehead Pub & Steakhouse, winner of The Star Ledger’s New Jersey Best Craft Beer Bar Competition. The pub started from humble beginnings, with only 20 taps, but, through the perseverance of Joseph and his father Chris, the Shep grew into an iconic destination for craft beer lovers with an impressive selection of 90 taps. Today, this family-owned pub continues to serve some of the rarest beers available combined with a full-menu steakhouse and classic/creative pub food, and with plans of future expansion into several different markets.


If you have any questions about the Rosen College Entrepreneurship Competition, please contact Dr. Jeff Weinland at Jeffrey.Weinland@ucf.edu.