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Hawk Tank competitors win over $65,000 in cash and scholarship awards
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Hawk Tank competitors win over $65,000 in cash and scholarship awards

Since January, Hawk Tank Business Plan Competition participants have been immersed in learning how to take a business idea from concept to storefront. In an exciting culmination of their hard work, teams put their final plans to paper and presented their best idea in hopes of winning big—over $65,000 in cash and scholarship awards were up for grabs.

After a live round competition on April 24, the winners were announced in a congratulatory video this week. 

“To all the Hawk Tank participants, your passion, persistence as well as entrepreneurial spirit truly shined in your business plans as well as your presentations. We are so very proud of each and every one of you,” says Associate Professor of Management Michael Valdez, who co-directed the competition with Lorraine Taylor, associate professor of Tourism and Hospitality Management.

This year, the annual Hawk Tank competition included a Four Corners region high school track, recent FLC alumni track, FLC student track, and—for the first time ever—a San Juan College student track.

“Hawk Tank has provided a truly unique opportunity to come together with a common goal of strengthening our community’s economic development, and most importantly providing our students with professional guidance, hands-on experience, and mentorship,” says Toni Hopper Pendergrass, president of San Juan College. “Hawk Tank is more than a competition—it provides our students a leg up in making their business dreams a reality.”

“This was an exciting competition,” said Eddy Rawlinson, San Juan College dean of Business and Information Technology and Social Sciences. “We are very honored and privileged to partner with Fort Lewis College in our first participation in Hawk Tank. This venture provides a vital foundation for our students to learn best business practices.”

A total of five high school teams, three recent alumni teams, three SJC student teams, and seven FLC student teams competed in the final round. High school students were competing for scholarships and up to $1,000 for first place. The alumni track had the opportunity to earn up to $5,000 for first place. The first-place student team for FLC and SJC each earned $5,000 and then competed for an additional $5,000 grand prize. 

Here are the winners:

High School Track:

  • 1st ($500 and scholarships) - Kenyan Coffee; shop that sells coffee, pastries, and tea all from Kenya, Africa
  • 2nd ($250 and scholarships) - Top Choice; an experience creation app
  • 3rd ($100 and scholarships) – Solace; sustainable fashion company that is inclusive for all sizes

Alumni Track:

  • 1st ($5,000) - Off the Couch Media; sells digital resources for users to build skills and plan outdoor adventures

SJC Track:

  • 1st ($5,000) - Zia Drone Operations; top quality aerial services with a focus on exceptional customer service
  • 2nd ($2,500) - The Lunch Basket; food truck specializing in breakfast and lunch and pop-up occasions
  • 3rd ($1,000) - SilverSage Roastery; coffee company that empowers employees while increasing revenue

FLC Track:

  • 1st ($5,000) - ATSA Records; Indigenous-based company with mission of increasing Native or tribal presence in the entertainment industry
  • 2nd ($2,500) - Z’s Performance & Repair; auto facility specializing in off-road performance, fabrication, and repair
  • 3rd ($1,000) - Perin’s Krash-Kit; fanny pack with integrated first aid kit and adaptability into emergency arm sling

Grand Prize Winner of SJC and FLC Student Tracks:

  • Zia Drone Operations from San Juan College (awarded an additional $5,000 prize)

"To all our participants in Hawk Tank, congratulations for your amazing contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship in our region. This year, Hawk Tank was especially important and amazing because it had collaboration with our local high schools and San Juan College. Congratulations to our winners—you’ve made a huge difference in our community"

PRESIDENT TOM STRITIKUS

“To all our participants in Hawk Tank, congratulations for your amazing contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship in our region,” says FLC President Tom Stritikus. “This year, Hawk Tank was especially important and amazing because it had collaboration with our local high schools and San Juan College. Congratulations to our winners—you’ve made a huge difference in our community.”

This year’s prizes were provided by title sponsor Swan Global Investments, Four Corners Innovation, FLC and SJC Foundations, the Erteszek Foundation, Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado, and through a Friends of Hawk Tank crowdfunding campaign, which supporters can still contribute to at app.mobilecause.com/e/5j36cQ?vid=ht4sr.

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