Junior Judi Legler and her company Synced + Social took first place in the inaugural Rosen College Entrepreneurship Competition, sponsored by BlurtBox, on Wednesday, April 20. Seniors Shane Carman and John C. Swoboda Jr. took second and third place, respectively. Participants competed for $10,000 in cash and prizes that can assist with startup costs and help make their dreams a reality.

Legler’s concept for a social media marketing consultancy focused on helping small businesses build their online presence. A previous online venture selling baked goods sparked her interest in entrepreneurism, but she quickly realized her real passion was promoting small businesses online.

“Winning this award is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life and I am so excited to continue to develop my business and learn more about how to succeed as an entrepreneur,” said Legler. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in this competition and to our sponsor, Blurtbox, for making this all happen. I look forward to growing my business and using the hospitality, business development and leadership skills I have gained as a proud Rosen Knight.”

After a competitive application process, four finalists were selected to present to a panel of judges, which included Tom Bland, ’75, ‘79, chairman & CEO of Knight Guard Corp; Gregg Hopkins, president of Gregg Hopkins & Associates; Joe Schiavo, ’13, owner of Shepherd and Knucklehead Pub; and Dennis Levy, ’10, owner of Night Auditors of America. Don Fox, CEO of Firehouse Subs, kicked off the competition with a keynote address.

“Entrepreneurism is at the core of hospitality and this competition helps foster an entrepreneurial mindset among our students,” said Dr. Jeffrey Weinland, competition chairperson. “We look forward to making this competition an annual event and an opportunity for our alumni to mentor and connect with aspiring student entrepreneurs.”

The competition was sponsored by BlurtBox, a customer experience management platform that helps customers voice their complaints about a business and allows owners and managers to address customers in real time. Its CEO Julien Meyer is a 2014 UCF graduate who studied hospitality and event management at Rosen College while running his own startup company. He partnered with Rosen College on the Entrepreneurship Competition to help budding entrepreneurs take a hospitality business venture to the next level.

For more information about the Rosen College Entrepreneurship Competition, please contact Dr. Jeffrey Weinland at 407-903-8061 or [email protected].