Picasolar, Catch-22 Big Winners at 2013 Reynolds Governor's Cup

by Mark Carter  on Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013 1:57 pm  

Members of the Picasolar team from the University of Arkansas are inteviewed following their win at the 2013 Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup Awards event in Little Rock. (Photo by Mark Carter)

University of Arkansas startup Picasolar and Catch-22 from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock took home the top overall prizes Wednesday at the 2013 Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup.

Picasolar won first prize in the graduate division of the state's top collegiate business-plan competition, while Catch-22 took top honors in the undergraduate division before Gov. Mike Beebe and about 1,000 in attendance at the Statehouse Convention Center.

Teams from the UA swept the top three places on the graduate level, with HomeDx placing second and EverClean Coating Solutions third. UA teams swept the graduate division in 2012 as well. EScout from Ouachita Baptist University won second in the undergraduate division, and Innovative Medical Sensor Tech of Harding University was third.

(Video: Watch the complete awards ceremony right here: 2013 Reynolds Governor's Cup 'Leave Your Mark' Event at Little Rock's Statehouse Convention Center.)

Forty-seven teams from 13 Arkansas colleges and universities submitted plans for the 2013 competition. Those entries were whittled down to 12 undergrad semifinalists and six graduate finalists, each of whom presented their plans to judges last week in Fayetteville.

Winners were announced at Wednesday's ceremony, which also produced two elevator pitch contest winners -- TrustedWills.com from OBU (undergrad), which launches June 1, and IsoLabs from Harding (graduate).

The pitch winners were determined through audience participation -- ceremony attendees texted their preference to a short code provided courtesy of Little Rock mobile marketing firm Sumotext.

Other winners included Catch-22 in the agriculture category, and Harding's LifeB (undergrad) and EverClean Coating Solutions in the innovation category.

All winners took home cash prizes including $25,000 for first place overall, $15,000 for second and $10,000 for third. The agriculture and innovation winners each won cash prizes of $5,000, and the pitch winners each earned $2,000.

The top two undergraduate ands graduate winners advance to the Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State Governor's Cup May 22-24 in Las Vegas. That competition pits state winners from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Nevada.

Businesses on the Rise

Picasolar has developed a patent-pending technology that aims to increase the efficiency of solar cells by 15 percent and save solar cell manufacturers up to $20 million annually. UA team mentor Carol Reeves, associate vice provost for entrepreneurship at the Walton Business College, said Picasolar represents a venture that has a chance to "change the world."



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