2023 New Venture Business Plan Competition – Lubar College of Business

The La Macchia New Venture Business Plan Competition at UWM’s Lubar College of Business featured student entrepreneurs presenting their plans and responding to questions from a panel of expert judges. The competition is sponsored by long-time supporters Bill and Sharon La Macchia. Bill La Macchia is the founder of Mark Travel Corporation and Trisept Solutions, global leaders in travel services and travel technology (now with Apple Leisure Group). Sharon, who recently passed away, was a staunch supporter of the program.

This year’s top honors went to:

First Prize: Counterpart 360°

The $10,000 first prize winner is Counterpart 360°, owned by Ross Younger (’22 MBA). The company helps architects and construction professionals create accurate “digital twins” of built structures. By combining 360° imagery and Lidar laser capture, it can create highly accurate 3D models in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional documentation methods.

Second Prize: Smart Count

Smart Count, a high-tech solutions platform that utilizes the latest in AI technology to simplify the nutrition management process, won the competition’s $5,000 second prize. The plan was advanced by Bill Paczkowski (’22 Electrical Engineering).

Two third prize awards went to:

Jettx (Jack Cyganiak ’24 Finance, Michaela Usama, ’25 Finance, and Luis Tulcanaza)
Net Surplus Company (Brennan Pralle, ’23 MBA)

About the Competition

The La Macchia New Venture Business Plan Competition was launched in 2008 to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. UWM students and recent graduates who enter the contest must demonstrate a market opportunity, unique benefits, competitive advantage, clear operational and marketing strategies, and financial viability, and are judged by a panel of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

The competition is directed by Steven Michael, Bostrom Professor of Entrepreneurship, and supported by several highly successful entrepreneurs and experts who served as judges, mentors, and workshop presenters.

The following served on the panel of judges for the competition:

Athena AgoudemosDirector, UWM Small Business Development Center

Alan KatzPresident, Katz Consulting, and Founder of Katz Bagels

Brian MorelloFormer Principal at Beloit Beverage Co., City Brewery, and Drink Beer LLC, and Director, Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit College

George SatulaVistage (TEC) Chairman, Vistage Worldwide

In the months preceding the competition, the following served as mentors to the venture teams, providing valuable guidance for formulation and presentation of their business plans:

Jude AndersConsultant (Retired), Shoreline Concepts, LLC

Dave Hildreth, President, BOOST Associates; Vistage (TEC) Chairman, Vistage Worldwide

David IrwinGeneral Partner, Hiawatha, and President, Chapter Apps

Mark ShipPrincipal and Business Advisor, Sandler & Ship

At the outset of the process, the following individuals presented workshops on developing effective new venture business plans to interested students:

Jim HunterManaging Member, James H. Hunter & Associates, and Adjunct Professor and Bostrom Entrepreneur-in-Residence, UWM Lubar College of Business

Melanie Manuel, Business Consultant, UWM Small Business Development Center

Gregory MartinBusiness Consultant, UWM Small Business Development Center