Amanda M. Crum, a College of Business Administration management major in the entrepreneurship track, was the winner of the 7th Annual Joust Business Plan Tournament, held at the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. Before a panel of five judges, Crum presented The Vak Shack, LLC, an online business where she sells vacuum sealer machines and replacement vacuum sealer bags for food preservation.

“I first came up with the idea for the Vak Shack a couple of years ago. My dad works in the commercial food equipment business, and he often had extra storage bags left over,” Crum said. “A couple of years ago, we decided to try selling them online, and we quickly realized there was a demand for a generic brand of bags. It just took off from there.”

The tournament is the signature competition of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), which serves as a hub for academic entrepreneurship across UCF’s colleges and programs.

By winning the Joust, Crum walked away with $10,000, a one-year virtual membership to the UCF Technology Incubator, and a complete website development package worth $2,000 from InBusiness Inc., a marketing and business consulting firm that is a partnership between former Joust participant David Wolf and Joust judge Rod Vargas.

Coming in second place was Prana T™ Company, a tea company brewing from whole leaves instead of traditional tea bags. Tied for third were Recycles, LLC, an eco-friendly transportation endeavor, and Accelerant Learning Group, an educational game creator.

Judges this year included:

  • Hank Crouse, ’71, 2007 CBA Hall of Fame inductee, and his wife, Suzy Crouse. The Crouses currently manage Foundation Steel and Wire of Houston, Texas, which manufactures wire mesh for concrete reinforcement in residential and commercial construction.
  • Paul Gregg, ’74 and ’76, 2004 CBA Hall of Fame inductee and instructor in the Finance Department within the College of Business Administration.
  • Ron Pizzuti, chairman and CEO of The Pizzuti Companies, one of the nation’s most respected real estate development firms.
  • Blaine Sweatt, ’76, 1999 CBA Hall of Fame inductee, president and CEO of Ivanhoe Design, Inc. and member of the CBA Dean’s Executive Council.
  • The sponsor of this year’s Joust was Steven Felkowitz, ’79, 2007 CBA Hall of Fame inductee and CEO of Atico International.

    For more information on the CEI and its initiatives, please visit their website.