Business Plan Competition will kick-off with business-savvy speakers

by UAA College of Businees & Public Policy  |   

UAA’s College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP) hosts an annual business plan competition to encourage entrepreneurship and economic development.

The 2021 competition will launch officially this Friday evening from 6:30–8 p.m. The kick-off will feature top UAA administrators: Chancellor Cathy Sandeen, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Denise Runge, and CBPP’s Interim Dean John Nofsinger. Joining them will be Alaska State Representative Sharon Jackson, a proponent of entrepreneurship, and President of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Bruce Bustamante, who also serves on the Advisory Board to CBPP.

Participants will also hear from the judging panel, a Who’s Who of venture capitalists, start-up veterans and business leaders.

“The Kick-Off is our chance to provide an overview of timelines, rules and categories,” explained competition designer Dr. Helena Wisniewski. “But we also hope to inspire potential competitors with stories from our judges and previous winners. We have several guests who will share their experiences in venture capital, start-ups, and more.”

Last year’s competition awarded a total of $7,000 in cash prizes in multiple categories to UAA students, said Wisniewski. This year marks a change for the competition: aspiring entrepreneurs in the community are now eligible to enter too, and the total prize money is $10,500.

“Entrepreneurship and economic development is important to our community and to the University,” said Wisniewski. “The College of Business and Public Policy has always maintained strong ties with the business community and encouraged mentorship of future leaders. This competition is one way we can strengthen those connections and bring students and community members into that dynamic. This kick-off will give participants a chance to interact with community leaders and be inspired.

Sign up for the kick-off and get the inside edge on the competition! 


  • Mr. Jon Bittner, State Director, Alaska Small Business Development Center (AK SBDC)
  • Ms. Candy FitzPatrick, Founder, RestAngles
  • Dr. Robert Hisrich, Bridgestone Chair of International Marketing and Director, Global Management Center at Kent State University
  • Mr. Allan Johnston, Chief Encouragement Officer
  • Mr. James Kostka, Chief Operating Officer and owner of Alaskan Data Solutions
  • Ms. Lauren Puleo, Portfolio Associate, McKinley Capital Management
  • Mr. Steve Socolof, Managing Partner, Tech Council Ventures
  • Mr. Tony Stanco, Esq. Founder and executive director, National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2); Co-founder, National Angels USA
  • Dr. Helena S. Wisniewski, Professor of Entrepreneurship & Chair, Management, Marketing, Logistics and Business Analytics Dept, College of Business and Public Policy, UAA
  • Mr. Greg Wolf, Executive Director, World Trade Center Alaska (WTCAK)
  • Mr. Joel Yarmon, Founder and Managing Director, Pipeline Capital Partners
  • Mr. Joe Zimmerman, Owner/Director, Cook Inlet Marketing Group, Inc.
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