After winning competitions with their business plans, these 7 ventures turned their paper visions into thriving companies.
First place winner, FSB 2007 Business Plan Competition
After landing FSB's first-place prize in 2007, Green Dragon secured enough funding to begin production of its all-natural roach poison. CEO Jay Mullis formally launched the company in January 2008 and has since gotten a federal Environmental Protection Agency license to sell his boric acid formula. He's now introducing his product into the market on a state-by-state basis, securing each state's EPA license as he goes. He's got 16 under his belt already and Washington, D.C., in the works.
To introduce his brand, Mullis gave away samples of his environmentally friendly and pet-safe bait at pest control conferences in the Southern states. That led to a network of pest control professionals who are now repeat customers. For the moment, Mullis is focusing on the professional market and holding off on a consumer expansion. "If we take on too many markets, we'll fail," he says. "It takes $40 million to build a shelf brand, and we're not capable of that yet."
Green Dragon recently teamed with Univar USA, a nation-wide chemical distributor, to expand its product reach. While the four-person company isn't pushing the consumer market, its Web site is set up to fulfill individual orders.
"When the FSB article went up, we got so many calls for people wanting the bait, but we weren't established yet," Mullis recalls. "Now we can start assisting those interested parties and actually take advantage of the publicity."
Stay tuned for more products: Green Dragon is in the process of testing new bait for ants using the same boric acid foundation that has worked so well for its roach killer.
NEXT: A national rollout for fuel-saving technology