A UCF student’s affordable alternative to flight schools and expensive flight simulators received top honors at the annual Business Model Competition. The BMC gives students the opportunity to network with entrepreneurial leaders, have their hard work recognized, win cash prizes, and a chance to compete at the international level.

The UCF Blackstone LaunchPad, an initiative of the UCF College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL), was the host for the event. Brandon Naids was named the 2015 winner after presenting his business model for Talon Simulations, an aviation training and flight simulation company. Talon Simulations bridges the gap between personal-computer-based aviation training devices and six-figure advanced aviation training devices.

Naids and his team got the idea for Talon Simulations as undergraduates. “We got really good feedback from our senior design project, which was a virtual reality simulator that we built for $1000,” said Naids. “It was a good concept and really demonstrated that it was a possible business idea.”

Naids took home a $1000 cash prize, as well as an invitation to Brigham Young University to compete in the International Business Model Competition (IMBC) in May. The IMBC offers students the chance to win up to $25,000 in funding.

A recent UCF graduate, Naids earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Industrial Engineering.

Second place was awarded to Caroline Castille and Odaimys Calderin, for bSteps, an innovative dance shoe company. bSteps was awarded $250 toward future development costs. Jasmine Yamini took home the third place award of $150 for Earthy Food Creations, a healthy snack food company. Fourth place winner Eric Ramos won $100 toward the development of Grocery Grabbers, a grocery delivery service. Semifinalists included Nick Beauchamp and Jake Hartigan (Kustom Compressions), Vikram Dhillon and Clara Leung (HealthShares), Juan Galindo (MenuMe), and Rameech McCormack (Augnable LLC). Judges for the semifinals were Carol Ann Dykes, Brent Henderson, Dale Jackson, and Jack Henkel. George Gramatikas, Robin Phelps, David Brim, and Oscar Rodriguez judged the final round.