Twenty founders are expected to graduate in the class of 2022 from the award-winning Master of Business Creation (MBC) Full-Time program at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business after finishing the 2021-22 academic year in May. This is the third group to graduate from this unique program designed specifically for entrepreneurs.
The graduating MBC founders are leading 16 startups ranging from branded apparel production and fitness to apps and NFTs. Find a complete listing of the graduates and their startups below.
The MBC program is an academic offering provided by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy in partnership with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. Both are part of the Eccles School, which is ranked among the top 10 schools for entrepreneurship by U.S. News & World Report.
“We were impressed with what the founders accomplished this year,” said Paul Brown, a co-director of the MBC program and a professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy. “All the founders worked hard to meet their goals to grow their businesses. They supported each other and learned from each other’s experiences.”
Founders in the MBC program receive mentorship and resources to grow and scale their companies. They all received full scholarships that covered the costs of the program. All benefit from Eccles School courses, applied curriculum workshops, practicum labs and the intense learning-by-doing that occurs when lessons are applied to their own businesses.
The MBC program is one of the latest additions to the Eccles School, which celebrates entrepreneurship as a core value and fosters it throughout its undergraduate and graduate programs. The MBC program also was recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) in the 2020 Innovations That Inspire member challenge.
The MBC program was created to blend the best attributes of a business curriculum with a startup accelerator. The founders develop their startups while taking classes from leading experts and receiving extensive resources and mentorship to help them address their immediate business needs.
“The MBC program is not like any other graduate business program,” said Taft Price, the other co-director of the MBC program and a faculty member in the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy. “The application to join the program is mostly a founder’s business plan. Then everything they do in the program – from classes and group discussions to homework – is focused on their startup.”
Acrely Farms is one of the startups graduating from the program this year. They produce and sell small-batch, handcrafted CBD products. Co-founders Britney Beardmore and Sarah Duke both enrolled in the program.
Beardmore said she is thankful for the MBC because “we were not really cut out to be business owners overnight” but have been able to reach their goals and find new opportunities because of the program.
West of Breakfast co-founders and sisters Sarah Kate Price and Anna Connolly also completed the MBC program this year. They sell “luxury pajamas with personality” that can be worn from the bedroom to the boardroom and everything in between.
Connolly said she enrolled in the MBC program because of its unique qualities. “It’s similar to an MBA in that you’re learning a lot of general principles of business, but it’s more tailored to startups, and it’s such an amazing program because we’re able to work on our business specifically,” she said.
Learn more about the Master of Business Creation and apply at eccles.utah.edu/mbc.
MBC Class of 2022 Startups & Founders
Here are the 2021-22 MBC startups and the founders that are expected to graduate from the program (in alphabetical order by company):
- Acrely Farms (Britney Beardmore, Sarah Duke) – Acrely is a boutique hemp farm in the mountains of Utah. Its dream of bringing high-quality CBD (cannabidiol) to the community was founded with the love of plants and organic growing practices. The founders believe in the amazing health and wellness benefits of hemp and are excited to share their carefully crafted small batch products.
- Balance Technologies (Andrew Burchett, Mike Hale) – Did you know 72% of American households feel stressed about money on a monthly basis and 78% of U.S. workers live paycheck-to-paycheck? Balance helps with these issues by providing a mobile-first banking solution that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate your finances. In two minutes or less, Balance can create a budget and put you and your family on a path to financial balance.
- Blue Gecko Apparel (Brennen Woodward) – Blue Gecko provides general apparel decoration by utilizing screen printing and embroidery processes. It can provide custom work with low-order minimums at affordable prices. It specializes in team e-commerce sites by handling order creation and fulfillment.
- Breath of Life (Elizabeth Jeffrey) – Breath of Life exists to make emergency situations easier by creating functional and intuitive devices that make it easier for people to overcome panic and save lives. It is developing a device designed to provide a quick and simple alternative to abdominal thrusts to save the life of a choking victim. The device, called The Breath of Life, has the ability to suck out a throat obstruction with the push of a button. The design provides peace of mind in emergencies in environments where choking can happen.
- Cloutchain (Tim Nielsen) – Cloutchain is a fan engagement platform that provides musicians, athletes, and other creators a new way to monetize their fanbase. Through Cloutchain, creators can design and sell digital collectible cards that unlock exclusive engagement opportunities and content for fans. Cloutchain cards are backed by non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that can be bought, sold and traded in secondary markets, effectively making a market that trades on the demand for each individual creator’s engagement.
- Five Flute (Carson Darling) – Five Flute is a communication platform for hardware engineering teams. It helps teams discuss engineering problems and make decisions faster.
- Health Beet (Amy Roskelley) – The mission of Health Beet is to help women achieve their weight-loss goals by adopting scientifically sound lifestyle changes that create healthy habits for life. They do this by providing education, motivation, resources and support through products, workshops, videos, social media, community and articles.
- Maak Impact (Jason Koncurat) – Maak Impact is a consulting organization that focuses its problem-solving efforts on local nonprofits. It works with organizations utilizing principles of innovation to ensure nonprofit missions and models align well with bringing the greatest impact to their beneficiaries.
- Maungo Craft (Bonolo Monthe) – Maungo Craft makes unique, vegan, small-batch preserves and hot sauces by using the indigenous fruits of Botswana then pairing them with contemporary flavors to create a unique African taste. It doesn’t use artificial preservatives, is climate-change conscious and has won 13 awards locally and internationally. The company puts “culture in a bottle.” (Participating in partnership with Generation Africa.)
- Party Pipeline (Joel Zae) – Party Pipeline is an online marketplace that enables event planners to hire local and trendy vendors. It takes the hassle out of planning a party by providing a selection of vetted vendors, streamlining the booking process and allowing the customer to pay all vendors through one payment portal.
- ResusciTech (Greg Fine, Abbie Kohler) – ResusciTech is a software company that aims to improve patient outcomes in emergency medicine. It does this by delivering a convenient and engaging CPR certification course. This course includes hands-on, guided chest compression practice, which can be completed with just a smartphone and couch cushion. The company plans to pursue FDA clearance so its CPR feedback technology can be used in real emergencies. (Participating in partnership with Brown University.)
- Skale Fulfillment (Trevor Wiggins) – Skale Fulfillment helps companies deliver their products to their customers. It does this by connecting its shipping and warehousing software to their customer’s website shopping carts. It holds customer’s inventory and fulfills their orders, relieving many of the logistical burdens that companies face. It is currently fulfilling 100-300 orders per day.
- Thin Hair Thick (Tiffany Young) – Thin Hair Thick strives to offer comfortable alternatives in hair wear. Traditional market offerings such as hair extensions and wigs tend to damage hair or are uncomfortable and require consistent ongoing salon maintenance. The founder believes hair wearing should be comfortable and convenient while being easy enough to apply without a salon professional.
- Thought Gym (Cynthia Wong) – Thought Gym is a mental-fitness company that offers in-person and online group mental-fitness workouts to help people build strong and healthy minds.
- West of Breakfast (Anna Connolly, Sarah Kate Price) – West of Breakfast is a luxury pajama company that focuses on fun pajamas that can be worn day or night.
- WikiCharities (Angie Holzer) – WikiCharities is creating an online community for the nonprofit sector, similar to what LinkedIn did for the professional space. It connects the world’s nonprofits, volunteers and funders to improve collaboration and to see better outcomes. It also provides a nonprofit validation that allows for more informed decisions to be made with global giving.
About the David Eccles School of Business
The Eccles School is synonymous with “doing.” The Eccles experience provides a world-class business education with a unique, entrepreneurial focus on real-world scenarios where students put what they learn into practice long before graduation. Founded in 1917 and educating more than 6,000 students annually, the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business offers nine undergraduate majors, four MBAs, eight other graduate programs, a Ph.D. in six areas and executive education curricula. The School is also home to 12 institutes, centers and initiatives that deliver academic research and support an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation. For more information, visit Eccles.Utah.edu or call 801-581-7676.
About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute
The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute also manages Lassonde Studios, a five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at Lassonde.Utah.edu.