The 11th annual Brown-Forman Forman Cardinal Challenge, the University of Louisville’s annual competition for MBA teams, featured budding businesses from the U.S. and Canada vying for a lucrative grand-prize package.

The University of Arkansas team won first place with a plan for Lapovations LLC, a medical device company. WeavAir of the University of Toronto took second place, while UofL’s team, Mindful Mix, came in third. Fourth place was won by Hansel of UCLA.

Lapovations, maker of medical devices for laparoscopic procedures, was awarded the grand prize of $15,000 and the chance for $100,000 worth of services if it locates in Louisville through the “Launch in Louisville” program.

The “Launch in Louisville” package is provided in conjunction with Greater Louisville Inc. To be eligible for the services, the winning team must locate and operate its business in Louisville within a year of the award. Among the contributers are Business First (an advertising package), UofL’s Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship (consulting), Frost Brown Todd (legal services) and Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP (tax services).

The second place prize of $5,000 was awarded to WeavAir, maker of sensors for heating and air conditioning systems that reduce energy consumption and improve indoor air quality.

JD Mitchell, left, and Eric Wentworth, both UofL MBA students.

UofL MBA students Eric Wentworth and JD Mitchell won $3,000 for third place for their Mindful Mix business plan. The startup makes all-natural, vitamin- and electrolyte-infused cocktail and mocktail mixers. 

Van Clouse, director of the Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship and associate professor of entrepreneurship, and Suzanne Bergmeister, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and entrepreneur-in-residence, are the team’s UofL advisors.

In fourth place for business plans, travel advice app Hansel team members took home $1,500.

The Cardinal Challenge, first held in 2008, features 12 teams of students from the world’s leading university entrepreneurship programs. It is one of eight regional or national competitions in which UofL participates each year.

UofL’s Van Clouse is interviewed by WBNA TV21’s Lindsay Hanson during the Cardinal Challenge. WBNA’s local entrepreneur-funding show Dream Funders is recorded at the College of Business.

The competition took place Feb. 16-17 at the Louisville Downtown Marriott. Other universities participating were the University of Kentucky (two teams), University of Oregon (two teams), University of Manitoba (Canada), University of Delaware, University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan.

In addition to the business plan competition, the Challenge includes a 1-minute Fast Pitch competition. SalvePeds of Notre Dame won the first place prize of $1,500, with Sustainable Products Co. of UK coming in second with a prize of $1,000.

Photos from the competition are available online.