Entrepreneurship Competition

2018 Hospitality Entrepreneurship Competition

The UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management Entrepreneurship Competition is an opportunity for current students of the program to take an idea for a new hospitality product or service and develop a plan to bring their idea to market. This is the third competition.

 2018 Hospitality Entrepreneurship Competition Finalists:

  • Bougie Eats
  • Cold Stone Creamery Food Truck
  • Indulge Desserts
  • Slip n Set Event Covers
  • The Youvenier Shop

These five finalists will compete for cash prizes to help build their business ideas. The finalists will go before a panel of judges on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, at  6:00 p.m. 

2018 Hospitality Entrepreneurship Competition Judges:

  • Andrew M. Bell, Founder & CEO, Florida Auto Tag Agencies
  • Warren Dietel, CEO/Owner, Puff n’Stuff Event Catering
  • Megan E. Dowdy, Broker/Realtor at Megan Dowdy Realty and Founder and Creator of Lost Caverns Adventure Golf
  • Brandee Gaar, Owner & Designer, Blush by Brandee Gaar – event design, planning, coordination
  • Marco A. Manzie, Founder and President, Paramount Hospitality Group, a leader in the hospitality industry with more than 38 years of experience
  • Tom Michaelis, President/Owner, Premium Healthy Vending
  • Joni Newkirk, Founder and CEO, Integrated Insight, an analytics consulting company recognized as one of the Inc. 5000 fastest growing private companies in America
  • Coleman Watson, Founder & Managing Partner, Watson, L.L.P


Judges are comprised of experienced entrepreneurs, business people, and professionals within the hospitality industry. Judges will be presented with some areas on which to rate proposed ventures:

  • Business Description: Details of the venture and what it does.
  • Market Analysis: Characteristics of the market and description of its customers.
  • Product or Service Analysis: The specifics of the product or service.
  • Competition: Identify current and potential competitors.
  • Marketing Strategy: How sales will be achieved.
  • Operations: How the product or service will be produced and delivered.
  • Management: An assessment of the entrepreneur(s) and team.
  • Finances: An overview of the required resources and economics of the venture.
  • Investment Proposal: The terms and conditions offered to investors.
  • Presentation: Overall effectiveness of the actual presentation.
  • Overall Value: The feasibility and originality of the venture idea.


The top 3 finalists will receive cash prizes, 1st: $5,000, 2nd: $2,500, 3rd: $1,500, thanks to our sponsors Fantasy World Resort and Levy Hospitality.  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.

In-Kind Donation

The winners of the 2018 Hospitality Entrepreneurship Competition will also receive in-kind services from Watson L.L.P. and the British American Chamber of Commerce. Watson L.L.P is a firm that specializes in intellectual property law. The firm will provide a comprehensive business start-up consultation to the winner. The British American Chamber of Commerce will provide a one-year corporate membership to the Chamber, which will allow for numerous networking opportunities and exposure for winner of the 2018 Hospitality Entrepreneurship Competition’s business. The membership is valued at $5,000

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. (The corresponding team member must meet this requirement.)
  • 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, 2018.
  • Submissions and presentations must be the original work of the team.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be a minimum of five (5) and a maximum of 10 single-spaced, Times New Roman 12pt font, 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. 

Key Competition Dates

Monday, February 26, 2018 – Applications Due (Deadline Extended)

All submission forms must be completed and turned in by 11:59 p.m. on February 26, 2018, for any team to be eligible for the competition. No extensions will be granted. The panel of judges will select proposals to be passed on to the next round of the competition.

Friday, March 2, 2018 – Finalists Announced

Finalists for the competition will be announced by email by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 2, 2018. Finalists will be provided with specific instructions on the criteria, which they will be evaluated on and what to present in their slide decks.

  • Wednesday March 28, 2018 – Presentation: Workshop
  • Wednesday April 4, 2018 – Practice Presentation: Workshop

Friday, April 6, 2018 – Slide Decks Due

All slide decks is to be submitted via email on Friday, April 6, 2018.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:00 p.m. – Final Round

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

For questions on the Hospitality Management Entrepreneurship Competition please contact Dr. Jeffrey Weinland, Competition Coordinator at Jeffrey.Weinland@ucf.edu


2017 Hospitality Management Competition

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.

Kaitlin Des Jardins, Tyler Dick and sponsor Barney Barber, Patton Hospitality Management

The second prize winner is Dhark Coco, an online boutique confectionery company, headed by Andra D. Chisholm.  The chocolates feature 12 different flavors, hand-made in the Daytona Beach area and shipped nationwide.  Andra 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.

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

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