Former Love's Entrepreneur's Cup Winner Finds Success at Company with Entrepreneurial Values
The next innovative business idea could be sitting in an Oklahoma classroom as we speak, and Love's Entrepreneur's Cup is the competition to uncover them.
The goal of this statewide “shark tank” style competition is to challenge collegiate students to submit an inventive business plan and pitch their idea to a panel of judges. The competition aims to grow entrepreneurs who will create statewide jobs and wealth for Oklahoma.
In its 15-year history, Love's Entrepreneur's Cup has seen more than 2,290 students take the challenge and produced nearly 690 innovative ideas from 36 campuses statewide. In addition, the competition has awarded more than $1.95 million in cash, $140,000 in scholarships and $250,000 in fellowships to competition participants. Some winners go on to work further on their business idea while others choose to continue their business education by entering the workforce.
One of these winners, Jake Lamb, is now a business systems lead for a company well-known for innovation in Oklahoma; Love's Travel Stops. Jake and his team participated in Love's Cup during their time at Oklahoma City University. Their idea, working with a company called Moleculera Labs, focused on streamlining and monetizing a test developed for an autoimmune disease called PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infection) that usually affects children aged 4 – 7 years old. Moleculera Labs was an existing start-up company founded by Dr. Shimasaki and Dr. Cunningham based upon her research at the OUHSC. Jake and his team worked on developing the financial model and additional options for the business for their Love's Cup pitch.
“I really was not expecting to win,” Lamb said. “We got fairly good feedback all the way, but not anything really strong that would point me towards it. So, when we won I was really surprised. It was really surreal to get to go up and accept the award.”
A few years later, Jake found himself working for the namesake of the competition as an intern before being promoted to business systems lead for the information technology department.
“Love's was a great for me because I was given a lot of opportunity to try a bunch of different things within IT,” Lamb said. “The Love's Cup experience made me ready to take on a bunch of new things and try new adventures.”
Jake describes Love's as “the great Oklahoma entrepreneurial success story”, and he couldn't be more right. The innovative spirit started with Tom Love's founding of the company in 1964 and has allowed the company to continue to grow and embrace new ideas. Entrepreneurs create growth, which is why Love's is proud to sponsor and support Love's Cup and the young innovators it creates.
Visit Love's Cup's Facebook page or website to see this year's next great ideas!