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UNLV team advances in business plan competition

Four student teams from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas were among 12 Nevada finalists that competed last month in Reno as part of the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition.

Nearly 60 teams from 10 public and private colleges and universities applied. One UNLV team advanced and will compete Monday through May 22 against top teams from other states in the 2013 Tri-State Donald W. Reynolds Cup at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

UNLV team Solution Bar won first place and $25,000 in the undergraduate category in Reno and has a chance to win an additional $60,000.

This is the sixth annual tri-state competition. Solution Bar will compete against the second-place Nevada team and the top two teams from Arkansas and Oklahoma. Teams will give presentations, followed by a round of questioning from the judges.

Solution Bar team captain and senior Ari Weinryt described the business as a “science-inspired molecular-mixology bar.”

“It’s a combination of my passion for food and beverage,” he said. “Ultimately, what’s different is the options. We want you to experience your favorite flavors with a different twist on it.”

Drinks will be served in test tubes and beakers, and certain ingredients will be physically modified. Weinryt said there will be a “huge emphasis” on ice cubes. The Molecular Mojito, for example, will have flavored mint ice cubes, which will add flavor to the drink as they melt instead of watering it down, he said. Another drink, the Dirty Yin-Yang, is a modified White Russian that will have coffee-flavored ice cubes.

The team also includes Diana Duangnet Fisher and is advised by Clark Kincaid, a professor at the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. Weinryt said the team plans to spend some of the $25,000 to buy equipment to practice making different drinks and save the rest to use as capital.

Weinryt said the bar will be marketed to a younger audience and that he does not intend for it to be a big tourist destination.

“It’s a highly unique, relatable, yet exotic location with locals always in mind,” he said. “… One important part of Solution is a pun on chemistry and drinks in general. Alcohol is a solution, and sometimes alcohol in life can be a solution.”

Weinryt also said his bar will serve the basics.

“If you come in and all you want is a Budweiser in a pint, that’s going to happen,” he said. “We just want to continue to bring new ideas.”

The third-place team in the undergraduate category was Gymnerate, composed of UNLV students Taylor Hall and Sarah Hammann, who won $10,000.

The team pitched itself as an energy brokerage company that would design a system to harness the energy produced by elliptical and cycling machines and send that energy back to the power grid, earning gyms energy credits. The team was advised by Janet Runge, an enrichment coordinator at the Lee Business School.

Hammann said they started with an idea of making gym equipment but said the cost would make it difficult to market it to gyms.

“We thought of another way to make money off renewable energy,” she said.

She said the group is unsure if it will try another idea at next year’s competition or pursue this business plan further.

The two UNLV teams that did not place at the Governor’s Cup were Hope LBC, a web-based cancer news network that would connect patients with new clinical trials and treatment options, and HUD PRO, a device that projects vehicle data on a car’s windshield.

For more information, visit dwrgovernorscup.org.

Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at jmosier@viewnews.com or 702-224-5524.

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