It takes just the right combination of environmental conditions, management, and timing to cultivate a delectable French black truffle. Fittingly, the four second-year M.B.A. students who won the Lundquist College of Business's 2005 Quest for AdVenture learned a similar lesson about developing a business plan. The team, Three Pines Truffles, proposed starting the first French black truffle farm in the United States.
Three Pines Truffles—whose members are Daniel Goldstein, Derek Reiber, Kate Niedermeyer, and Sarah Hutchinson—presented their business plan to a panel of potential investors as part of the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship's annual M.B.A. Quest for AdVenture competition. Teams that participate in the event have the potential to represent the University of Oregon at several national and international business plan competitions, including the center's New Venture Championship (NVC) in April. The NVC is widely recognized as one of the top three business plan competitions in the world.
In addition to Three Pines Truffles, two other teams competed in the Quest for AdVenture on December 5, 2005. EVO pitched its plan based on producing carbon-fiber-based protective equipment for high-contact sports. FloraGenetics's offered DNA testing to help fruit and nut tree farmers more quickly predict the characteristics of newly propagated varietals. This year's judges were Mary Miller, senior vice president/manager for Umpqua Bank; David Van Wie, president of dvw capital; and Douglas White, president of Douglas White & Associates.
"In the entrepreneurial area, the Lundquist college has really improved dramatically. It is only a matter of time before more entrepreneurs coming out of the center really make an impact on the business community," noted Van Wie, lauding the quality of the students' presentations.
All three teams gained invaluable experience presenting and responding to actual investors and practicing entrepreneurs.
"We have always presented in classes, but it is completely different to experience the live fire of real investors," noted M.B.A. candidate Reiber. "They have looked at hundreds of plans. If yours is bad, they are going to tell you but also explain why and what to do to improve it."
With their first-place finish, Three Pines Truffles was awarded $1,500. FloraGenetics finished second and earned $500. Third-place finisher EVO received $200. Three Pines Truffles also garnered Best Executive Summary as voted by fellow students in entrepreneurship.