The M.B.A. Program Project Awards for the Outstanding New Venture Plan and Outstanding Business Consultancy Plan are presented annually to M.B.A. graduates who have developed an outstanding plan supporting a new venture or business consultancy and exhibited exceptional, original graduate-level work in Walden’s M.B.A. program.

2014 Winners

(2012–2013 Academic Year)

Outstanding New Venture Plan

Marieke van Schie: AMEE CAFÉ

“I used our coffee plantation in Guatemala as the basis for my project plan, the business plan for AMEE CAFÉ. The elaboration of this plan taught me that any business model that I am involved in should have a positive impact on society. My personal values and beliefs oblige me to seek business models where the benefits can be wider spread than economic benefit for the owners. Any business model should be based on the triple bottom line of social, environmental, and economic benefits. I will preach against the short-term thinking: only going for increased market value and short-term profit.”

Outstanding Business Consultancy Plan

Jennifer Lonsdorf: ACC Products Inc.

“I chose to work on a due diligence project that centered on a direct sales company. The selling format was similar to a company I previously worked for, allowing me to combine my personal knowledge with research to create a successful project.”

2013 Winners

(2011-2012 Academic Year)

Outstanding New Venture Plan 

Rebecca Jensen–Project: Dental Billing Experts, LLC

New venture plan executive summary (excerpt)

Rebecca JensenThe increasing complexity and the sheer number of dental insurance plans have made billing extremely time-consuming and expensive for dental office staff. Dental facilities can actually net more income by outsourcing their dental insurance billing. Dental Billing Experts, LLC (DBE, LLC) is the first dental-only insurance billing company in Oregon to provide accurate, timely, no-hassle dental insurance billing to dental facilities. For a monthly flat fee and a percentage of total claims filed, DBE, LLC can profit while solving dental facilities’ most common problem. Over half of DBE, LLC’s initial investment is from owner equity, and the estimated ROE is 62% compared to the industry average of 11%.

Outstanding Business Consultancy Plan  

Colin MitchellColin Mitchell–Project: The Sherwin-Williams Company

“The most meaningful part of my Walden experience was learning about organic growth and creatively empowering individuals throughout an organization’s cultural framework.”

2012 Winners

(2010-2011 Academic Year)

Outstanding New Venture Plan 

Kirlos Guerguis–Project: Psychvate Behavioral Health EHR

New business venture’s executive summary (excerpt):
PsychVate’s Koios is a lost-cost, subscription-based electronic health record system that simplifies the billing and documenting processes for behavioral health services. The system’s user-friendly software and intuitive interface allow healthcare providers to customize templates and directly access patient and clinical information, thus saving time and money. By making the system web-based, organizations are provided with a low-cost, maintenance-free alternative to purchasing expensive custom software that requires hosting.

Outstanding New Venture Plan  

Lee Lowry–Project: Cloud-Based Identity Services for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Project summary and rationale for selection:
“My business plan focused on creating a new venture that would become a leader in ‘enterprise-class’ identity management and productivity software for mid-sized businesses. Most small and medium-sized businesses are struggling to keep up with the ever-changing regulations of compliance regulations and security threats, and they lack the time, staff, and resources to fully take advantage of the productivity benefits that software technology can provide.”

Outstanding Business Consultancy Plan  

Kimberly Hanrahan–Project: Customer Operations Analysis

Project summary and rationale for selection:
“I selected my topic based on my desire to help improve our human resource department in its goal of becoming a more strategic partner in the business. What resulted was a comprehensive look at the overall business that not only broadened my own business acumen but also allowed me to share ideas with my leaders on improvements we could make. I am proud of the work that I accomplished at Walden and excited that my employer seriously looked at the recommendations and utilized my experience in the program to implement changes within our organization.”

2011 Winners

(2009–2010 Academic Year)

Winners

Outstanding New Venture Plan

Alison Norris
Project: Quinn’s Canine Café

New business venture’s executive summary (excerpt):

QUINN’S CANINE CAFÉ (QCC) makes and sells organic treats for dogs with unique dietary needs due to concerns like epilepsy, allergies, and skin conditions. These are available online as well as in our storefront, where our certified behaviorists host classes and community pets enjoy an indoor play area. We develop canine companions that are healthier and more connected to their families.

Quinn’s Canine Café, currently a successful e-commerce website, is expanding to include the brick-and-mortar presence in Q2 2010. Initial funding has been secured, but additional small-business loans may be necessary in 2011 in order to support sustained growth. QCC is able to forecast investor payback within the first four years.

Outstanding Business Consultancy Plan  

Melinda Jermison
Project: A Study with Recommendations for Success: A Look at a Global Conglomerate in the 21st Century

Project summary and rationale for selection:

“I decided to focus my M.B.A. project on a major player in the food and beverage industry and to analyze strategies for how a massive company can survive the global recession. Key recommendations include implementing employee-retention programs, lowering prices on popular products, pricing new product offerings strategically, and developing innovative investment plans. These recommendations are intended to boost revenue while maintaining a balanced portfolio.”

Nominees

Nominee  Project  Category 
Alison Norris* Quinn’s Canine Café Retail business
Ann Donaldson Memorial Hermann Healthcare System Healthcare system
Ryan Brown Platinum Tech Café, Inc. Internet café
LeDane Lewis Faith and Community Support Services Support services
Brian Bernander Safe Drive Transportation Transportation
Melinda Jermison* A Study with Recommendations for Success: A Look at a Global Conglomerate in the 21st Century Food and beverage

*Award Recipients

2010 Winners

(2008–2009 Academic Year)

Winners

Oustanding New Venture Plan 

Robert Gragson
Project: Life Beyond Oil

New business venture’s executive summary (excerpt):

LIFE BEYOND OIL, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, assists individuals, businesses, governments, and communities to adapt to an economy of scarcity in an energy constrained world. LIFE BEYOND OIL was founded in direct response to the depletion of oil internationally and the far-reaching effects that will be forthcoming from this decline in oil supply as demand for oil continues to grow.

Through consulting, workshops, and conferences, LIFE BEYOND OIL will be the leader in providing solutions for critical circumstances resulting from oil depletion.

Outstanding Business Consultancy Plan  

Michael Genebach
Project: TATI

Project summary and rationale for selection:

“I chose to make my M.B.A. program project focus on my own existing IT business primarily so I could delve more deeply and critically into the future potential of the firm. The study focused on how this small business, operating in a highly competitive and crowded industry, could enhance its position through refining and exploiting its discriminating factors, thereby potentially carving out a niche. A lucky outcome of this evolution and research time was that the analysis essentially became a ‘blueprint in action.’ Many of the strategies and recommendations noted in the paper were tested and implemented.”

Nominees

NOMINEE  TITLE  COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Nominee Title Company Description
Elizabeth Aggert    Once Upon a Time  Wedding consultancy
Roberisable Araujo   Making Old Lost Dreams a Success (M.O.L.D.S.) Community center
Amy Caprino Consolidated Electric Solutions, Inc. Electrical services
Michael Genebach* TATI IT software/support services
Bob Gragson* Life Beyond Oil Nonprofit that assists others to adapt to energy constraints
Karen Hayden-Grant   Women’s Career Readiness Center   Support for victims of domestic abuse
Gen Owens Children’s Home of Hearts   Residential facility for pediatric heart patients
Kathy Lumpkin Home Support Home repairs, remodeling
Shanta Parker Parker’s Place Nonprofit providing community services to single mothers
Allan Phillips MacGregor Software development
Albert Solomon Solomon Masonry Home construction services
Eric Wasness   The Kerlin Family Resort Vacation resort

*Award Recipients