University of Central Oklahoma College of Business entrepreneurial team Heart Optic took first place in the Tri-State Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition in May in Las Vegas, bringing home a $30,000 cash prize and increasing the team’s total winnings to $42,000.
The invitation-only competition is made up of the first- and second-place winners of the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan competitions in Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma, collegiate entrepreneurial contests that mimic the process of market research, establishing a business plan and pitching the concept to investors. Heart Optic took second in the High Growth Undergraduate Division of the Oklahoma Cup in April.
Heart Optic — made up of UCO junior Yusuf Shurbaji and spring 2016 graduate Clayeton Hammock — manufactures the Heart Bar™, a medical device that enables continuous CPR during image-guided procedures and ends caregiver exposure to X-ray radiation. Co-managing partner Randal Clowdus of Oklahoma City, a practicing RN with more than 40 years of medical experience, invented the device.
Shurbaji, a junior strategic communications major from Edmond and Hammock, a finance major and spring 2016 graduate from Enid, will invest the team’s winnings in Heart Optic LLC.
Hammock noted that the competition helped him to bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world.
“We were able to develop a business plan, create an LLC and present to potential investors. I believe this competition shows the quality of students and professors the UCO College of Business produces. We competed against all of the Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nevada schools and we came out on top,” Hammock said.
Robert Epstein, professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at Central, along with Maurice Haff, instructor of entrepreneurship and innovation in Central’s College of Business and a U.S. patent agent, served as faculty advisers to the team.
“It takes months of full-time preparation and dedication to participate in the Governor’s Cup. To place second in the Oklahoma competition, teammates must be supportive of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. To win first place at the Tri-State Governors Cup in Las Vegas, that takes a transformation to excellence,” said Epstein.
“Excellence is what Heart Optic teammates Yusuf and Clayeton achieved. Through their personal growth they earned deserved recognition for themselves, the faculty and staff who supported them, for the inventor and UCO.”