April 17, 2012

Student T-shirt Business Wins Kravis Competition

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

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.

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.