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Business students collar the market, fetch entrepreneurial prize

May 18, 2011

Tilden Smith ’13  and Dylan Balsz ’13 have made a winning business out of doggy business. Smith and Balsz are the first-place winners in Chapman University’s Business Plan Competition for their International Pet Solutions, a manufacturing enterprise they launched to create the PetLawn Indoor Outhouse, a device that comes to the rescue of housebound pooches whose owners are away when nature calls.

To call International Pet Solutions a plan is already a bit of a misnomer, though. They’re selling the product, an antimicrobial synthetic grass suspended over a collection tray, in more than 100 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

“We saw that there was a lot of demand for it. The ones that were on the market — they just had major drawbacks to them, and we thought we could make one that would work better,” Smith says.

Second place winner was Clifford Leonard for Motion Garage, a social networking platform for classic car restoration enthusiasts. Other finalists included Michael Yadegari for Computers Squad, a store-front chain for quick-stop computer repairs; Tyler Hadzinsky, Jordan Sigman and Vince Riedel for ThrowHeat, a battery-operated heating pack for athletes; and Spenser Halvorsen for Logged In, a web-based product that organizes and accesses everything users do on the Internet.

For more information about the program, visit the Business Plan Competition website.

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