ELKINS – A pair of Davis & Elkins College students will be the first-ever to represent the College in the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition semifinals. Felix Buck-Gramcko of Göttingen, Germany, and Sarah Bodkins of Coalton were selected after presenting their entrepreneurial idea for Simple Salads.
The competition among 18 state colleges and universities will take place January 31 at Fairmont State University. A total of 31 teams will move on to the next stage of competition.
Buck-Gramcko, a senior management major and member of the Senator cross country team, said he decided to enter the competition after taking a class in entrepreneurship last spring.
“I guess I just like a challenge outside of the classroom,” Buck-Gramcko said.
The idea for Simple Salads came about because Buck-Gramcko has been looking for a healthy alternative to fast food lunches and dinners.
“I’m not a fan of fast food and I see a need for a healthy option,” he explained. “If there was a business where you could get consistently good quality food, people would be more likely to eat healthfully.”
Simple Salads would provide both dine-in and carry-out meals, as well as boxed ingredients that customers could pick up for a home cooked dinner they could prepare in about 30 minutes.
To assist with his idea, Buck-Gramcko enlisted the help of Bodkins.
“I provide insight of the local area and ideas on how a business would excel,” Bodkins said.
Professor of Business and Chair of the D&E Division of Business and Entrepreneurship Dr. Carol Carter will assist Buck-Gramcko and Bodkins in formulating a business plan and serve as their coach for the competition.
“I am really proud of them and I think their advancement to the semifinals speaks well of D&E’s Business and Entrepreneurship program and of the College,” Carter said.
A $10,000 grand prize awaits the winner in both the STEM & Innovation and Lifestyle & Hospitality categories. An additional at-large award of $20,000 is made possible by Ray Zinn, founder of Micrel Semiconducters and the longest-serving CEO in Silicon Valley. This is the third year that Zinn gave money to the business plan competition.