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Award winners plan to make cupcakes and beer, keep autos in shape

Murphy Center venture capital winners 2010

You may soon have the opportunity to enjoy an All-American breakfast – in cupcake form – thanks to the winners of the 2010 New Venture Creation Contest, above.

The contest is sponsored by the Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship. The center is housed in UNT's College of Business and opened its doors in 2000 with a $1 million donation from Ken and the late Shirley Murphy, founders and owners of The Mail Box.

The center encourages entrepreneurship by providing students with business counseling, mentoring and training opportunities that help turn ideas into viable business entities.

Le’Neisha Brooks and Tiffani Johnson won first place in the annual contest for their start-up Cakes Couture. The duo received the award, which came with $25,000, at the annual BDO USA, LLP Leadership Luncheon Nov. 19.

Brooks, a graduate student in the School of Merchandising and Hospitality Management, and Johnson currently operate from a rented kitchen, but would like to open a store front in the Galleria Mall in Houston later this year. Their business plan says that they will offer a variety of cupcakes, specialty cakes and other gourmet items. Their offerings will include breakfast cupcakes, such as the All-American breakfast.

Second place went to Stephen Andrews, who owns Imported Performance, an e-commerce website specializing in automotive performance. Andrews, a senior in the College of Business, received $15,000 for his company.

Third place went to Yianni Arestis and Bobby Mullins. The duo hopes to use their $10,000 prize to open Denton’s first brewery and restaurant, Armadillo Ale Works. Arestis and Mullins hope to open in downtown Denton by the end of 2011. Arestis is a graduate student in the College of Business and Mullins is a 2007 graduate of the Department of Radio, Television and Film.

The New Venture Creation Contest is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms.  Teams must include at least one full-time UNT student. 

Above, from left: Ali Khademian, David Shiner and Koustubh Danekar, NT Lasers Inc.; Stephen Andrews, Imported Performance; Elizabeth Adebanjo, Dulce Vintage; Joe Dolce, Denton Percussion Warehouse; Le’Neisha Brooks, Cakes Couture; Yianni Arestis, Bobby Mullins, Armadillo Ale Works. (Photo by Mike Woodruff)



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