Skandalaris Center

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Students Impress Founders of Blossom LLC with Innovative Ideas

Cleo Yan, Math and Finance '20
April 2, 2019

On March 27, 2019, Graduate and Professional students competed in a case-study competition in which competitors pitched their business plans for vertical expansion at Blossom, LLC.

Blossom LLC is a bartering marketplace that allows anyone to easily and securely exchange goods and services through automated smart agreements. They are currently selling our platform to electric utility companies to allow their constituents to easily make person-to-person (P2P) and business-to-person (B2P) energy exchanges. Founders, Joe Gardner and Chris Mertens, are looking to expand their business, so they sought out students to generate innovative and sound ideas. Student competitors were asked one question: If blossom were to expand to another industry vertical (e.g., healthcare, retail), which would be the best fit?

Guest speaker Ron Watson shares experiences as principal of Lewis & Clark Ventures investment team | Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Each team presented various action plans that were geared towards a variety of industries including the automobile, telecommunications and food industries. Each action plan explained how they would attract their customer base, the type of research that would be involved, a budget plan and the risks involved. The judges critiqued each team and provided them with advice for ways to improve their business plans.

Sheri Notaro, Director of the Liberman Graduate Center, organized the competition as a collaboration with the Skandalaris Center to bring more opportunities for graduate and professional students to get involved in entrepreneurship. This collaboration provided graduate students from a variety of disciplines, including law, engineering, medical and business students, with “the chance to get their hand in on entrepreneurship and to bring innovative ideas to the table to see growth in a local business and actually lend their ideas, while hearing from their peers as well about what ideas they may have,” remarked Notaro.

Participants were grateful for the opportunity to think about real business problems of the future. The role of technology was also important for many students to consider the ways in which they can expand industries and bring about exponential growth, especially in those industries that are considered to be more old-fashioned and have yet to be modernized by the technological revolution of the twenty-first century. Overall, the success of ‘The Perfect Pitch’ competition generated innovative ideas for the future expansion of Blossom and imparted valuable skills and experiences to the leaders of the future.


“It’s not faith in technology. It’s faith in people” -Steve Jobs