2017 Entrepreneurship Competition Winner Announced

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2017 Entrepreneurship Competition Winner Announced

(L-R) Kaitlin Des Jardins, Tyler Dick and sponsor Barney Barber, Patton Hospitality Management

The second Rosen College of Hospitality Management Entrepreneurship Competition was held on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. on the beautiful Mediterranean resort-style campus.

And the winner is, drum-roll please, Slip & Set Event Covers.  Following presentations by the five finalists to the judges, Q&A, and sequestered judges’ deliberations, Slip & Set Event Covers, a catering event product, and the brain child of Tyler Dick and Kaitlin Des Jardins, was chosen by the judges as the winner of the second Rosen College of Hospitality Management Entrepreneurship Competition. The pair of entrepreneurs, who work in the catering department at Interlachen Country Club in Winter Park, Florida, will receive $5,000. They plan to use to prize money to patent their product, which they make with pride in the USA.

The second prize winner is Dhark Coco, an online boutique confectionery company, headed by Andra D. Chisholm.  The antioxidant-rich dark chocolates featuring unique flavor combinations are hand-made in the Daytona Beach area and shipped nationwide. Chisholm receives a prize of $2,500, which she plans to use to brand her product.

The third prize winner is Family Ranch, an all-inclusive family vacation ranch, which will give a portion of its profits to establishing a permanent home for foster children. The concept was developed by Shane Carman, who will receive $1,000.

(L-R) Andra Chisolm, Tyler Dick, Kaitlin Des Jardins and Shane Carman

Congratulations to winners and to all the finalists of the Entrepreneurship Competition who took a leap of faith to make their dreams of starting their own business ventures come true.

The finalist in the competition were:  

  • Ice Cream Food Truck
  • Dhark Coco, Online Chocolate, Confections, and Treats Boutique
  • Family Ranch
  • Slip & Set Event Covers
  • Timeshare Friends

The keynote speaker for the Entrepreneurship Competition was David Adelson, Founder and President, Intelity. With more than 20 years of professional and managerial experience, Adelson is widely recognized as a pioneer in the hospitality technology industry. He is the founder of leading hospitality software provider Intelity and serves full-time as its President and CEO. Adelson ignited a revolution in hospitality technology when he brought Intelity’s ICE hotel guest interface to market, becoming the first company to allow hotels to offer guest services on guestroom tablets and through guests’ own mobile devices. Under his leadership, Intelity has grown into a multimillion-dollar corporation with technology deployed across six continents and maintained a reputation as the leading company of its kind.

(L-R) Megan Dowdy, Joni Newkirk, Gregg Hopkins and Marco Manzie

The judges for this year’s Entrepreneurship Competition were:

  • Megan E. Dowdy, Megan Dowdy Realty, Broker/Realtor and Lost Caverns Adventure Golf: Megan Dowdy is a seasoned real estate broker, educator, and entrepreneur. A native of Orlando, she attended Lake Highland Preparatory School, obtained a business degree from The Calloway School of Business at Wake Forest University, and then obtained her Masters in Hospitality and Tourism Management from The University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality.
  • Gregg Hopkins, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Intelity: Gregg Hopkins is a successful business development and marketing professional with over 30 years of varied international experience in hospitality and technology. A co-founder of Libra OnDemand, a hospitality-specific CRM solution, Hopkins has worked with various hospitality enterprise property management, sales and catering, CRM, central reservation system providers, online travel agencies, and destination vacation portal solutions. He is also involved on committees or as a board member of select industry associations
  • Marco A. Manzie, Founder and President, Paramount Hospitality Group: With over 38 years in the hospitality industry, Marco Manzie epitomizes strong leadership. Known for his “hands-on” style and managing successful properties with respected hotel chains such as Park Hyatt, Stouffer, Hilton and Sheraton. Mr. Manzie is a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) and Condominium Association Manager (CAM) Licensed in the state of Florida. He is an active Board-member for The University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management since 2013.
  • Joni Newkirk, Founder and CEO, Integrated Insight: Joni Newkirk is CEO of Integrated Insight, Inc., an analytics consulting company recognized as one of the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America for three consecutive years (2014-2016).

Funding for the Entrepreneurship Competition prizes was contributed by Patton Hospitality

(L-R) Dennis Levy, Levy Hospitality; Julian Myer, BlurtBox; Barney Barber, Patton Hospitality Management

Management and Levy Hospitality; each company gave $5,000.  Dennis Levy, who heads up Levy Hospitality is a 2010 graduate of Rosen College and has supported several entrepreneurship endeavors at his alma mater. Patton Hospitality Management is assisting Rosen College with data for research projects. 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. Meyer approached the College with the idea for the Entrepreneurship Competition as a result of his experiences.

— (April 14, 2017)