COLUMBIA — Lauren Rundquist buys, paints and sells canvas shoes, mostly to MU students.
After winning first place at the annual #BOOM Bounce Competition on Friday afternoon, she hopes to expand her business, LaQuist, beyond MU. She plans to invest her $5,000 prize money in more online advertising and shoes and paint to create more products.
Rundquist was one of three winners in the #BOOM BOUNCE Competition held at the Trulaske College of Business on Friday.
The winners were among 18 students and young professionals who participated in the competition, organized by Regional Economic Development Inc. A 13-member task force oversaw the event.
The event aims to encourage entrepreneurship in individuals and business teams in mid-Missouri.
Sean Siebert, chair of the event's task force, said REDI hoped to create exposure for talented local entrepreneurs.
"We want to create a culture of collaboration through competition," Siebert said.
The judges described the competition as "outstanding," with a pool of talented entrepreneurs.
"We were blown away by the ideas, and it was hard to come up with only three winners out of 18," Jeff MacLellan, one of the judges, said. "All three of us were very impressed with the overall quality of ideas and presentation."
Rundquist was surprised by her win.
"I'm very excited and can't believe I won," Rundquist said. "I didn't expect to win at all, especially when I saw the quality of other presentations. I wanted to use my participation as a networking and marketing opportunity for my business."
Nathan Fleischmann won second place with his business, Stadium Shoes. He received a $3,000 prize.
"Stadium Shoes is modeled after the food truck but sells footwear instead," said Fleischmann, who works at Columbia College. "My business bridges the gap between brick and mortar location and is very convenient for both workers and students."
Francis Orallo, an MU student, won $2,000 by placing third with his soap-making idea, which he called Paos.
Orallo pointed out that Paos is "soap" spelled backwards. He was inspired to make soap after watching the movie "Fight Club" last April.
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