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Student-run t-shirt business wins first place in Kravis Concept Plan Competition

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A team of students from three of the Claremont Colleges has won top honors in the 22nd annual Henry R. Kravis Concept Plan Competition for creating a line of t-shirts using exotic fabrics from around the world.

Jeff Steitz, Thomas Carey and Madeleine Busacca of Serengetee.The annual award, hosted by Claremont Graduate University's Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, recognizes Claremont Colleges students or alumni who develop a business plan that exemplifies the competitive nature, flair, and general aptitude required of an entrepreneur in today’s world.

A total of $10,000 was awarded to this year's winners and finalists.

The top prize of $4,500 goes to students Jeff Steitz, Thomas Carey, Madeleine Busacca, and Emmy Perez for their company Serengetee. The company, which started out of Steitz's dorm room, makes custom, special order t-shirts featuring colorful international fabrics. Customers can design their own shirts online by choosing from scores of fabrics from more than 25 countries. Serengetee donates 50 percent of its profits to global charities.

Steitz and Busacca are students at Claremont McKenna College. Carey studies at Harvey Mudd College, and Perez is a student at Scripps College.

In addition to taking the first place prize, the Serengetee team received an additional $500 for the People's Choice, which was awarded on the votes of audience members at this year's contest presentations and ceremony at Claremont Graduate University on April 16.

A second place prize of $2,500 went to Hydrogen Solutions, led by Claremont McKenna College student Eric Ferrer. Hydrodgen Solutions has developed a plan for a hydrogen generator that can be installed in automobiles to dramatically improve fuel efficiency.

Third place and $1,000 went to Ereobs Games, led by Claremont McKenna College students Joe Newbry and Chad Newbry. Erebos has created Flash-based computer games that can be played and shared via social media and online portals.

Honorable mention prizes of $500 per team went to: Harvey Mudd College alumnus Charles Lemme for his Levelizer, a leveling system for motor homes; Keck Graduate Institute students Candice Lo, Karthik Chandvan, and Jarred Yacob for eBio Marketing, a venture that offers Internet marketing for life science companies; and Keck Graduate Institute students Marcus DeMaster, Stephen Hsu, and Paola Hernandez for their Quattronol venture, which foresees a device that converts garbage in biofuel for automobiles.

The awards are funded through an endowment created by Henry R. Kravis, a founding member of the Drucker School's Board of Visitors. Judges included established entrepreneurs and professors from Claremont Graduate University, Cal State San Bernardino, and University of Southern California.

More photos of the contest are on Flickr.

Rules and guidelines for the competition are available on the Drucker School’s website.


About The Drucker School
With a strong commitment to research, values orientation, and an intimate graduate-only curriculum, the Drucker School produces graduates who have a strong sense of social responsibility and a deep desire to make a difference by doing well while also doing good. Named for both a pioneering thinker (Peter Drucker) and an accomplished doer (Masatoshi Ito), the Drucker School offers a variety of professional and doctoral degrees, including MBA, EMBA, MSFE (jointly with CGU’s School of Math), MA in Arts Management (jointly with CGU’s School of Arts and Humanities), and MA in Politics, Business, and Economics (jointly with CGU’s School of Politics and Economics. Princeton Review recently ranked the school fifth in the nation in faculty quality.

About Claremont Graduate University
Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 22 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.


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