A custom-candle company pitched by two business students earned top prize at Illinois State University’s Startup Showcase competition November 11.

The annual student business startup competition is sponsored by the George R. and Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the College of Business. Any Illinois State student can enter the competition, which links contestants to support resources and helps them develop connections with potential investors, mentors, and the larger business community.

The 16 contestants included students from four of Illinois State’s academic colleges: College of Business, College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Applied Science and Technology.

The winners were:

First place: Scandles

Jon Korsgard, senior business information systems major
Alexander Steenbergen, senior business information systems major
Prize: $5,000 in financial support from the Means Center
“Scandles makes custom candles at an affordable price. Consumers would be able to customize the shape, size, scent, and color of their candle or choose from company designs that are 3D printed. We can be extremely flexible in capacity for peak seasons, pivot to meet moving market requirements and supplement our product line during the times our machines are not as busy.”

Ryan Long presents

Second-place finisher Ryan Long presents at Startup Showcase.

Second place: Quick List Handyman Inc.

Ryan Long, junior construction management major
Prize: $3,000 in financial support from the Means Center
“With Quick List Handyman I pride myself in how easy and reliable we are to our customers. Not only do we try to accommodate scheduling as well as we can but we are also a licensed and insured business to give the customers additional peace of mind when we perform a service in their home.”

Binapro team presents

The Binapro team presents at Startup Showcase. They earned third place.

Third place: Binapro

Kelvin Evans, sophomore entrepreneurship and small business management major
Daniel Bevan, sophomore business administration major
Derrick Griffin
Prize: $2,000 in financial support from the Means Center
“Binapro is a social media platform that allows innovators to collaborate with each other to build and market projects structured around disruptive ideas. Someone with an idea can come to Binapro and connect with professionals such as a web developer, graphic designer or accountant for the purpose of building a project. A project may be a brick-and-mortar business, an app, a website or many other things.”

Febin Chirayath pitches

Fourth-place finisher Febin Chirayath pitches his business, Jollychest.

Fourth place: Jollychest

Febin Chirayath, freshman political science major
Prize: $1,000 in financial support from the Means Center
“Jollychest is a way for parents to send their kids in college ‘care packages,’ but rather than in just a plain cardboard box, they can choose from numerous different designs of boxes. Usually the care packages are pre-made and they just choose one of the options. In Jollychest, the parent can pick what they want to put in the box and how much of each they want, ultimately they decide their own price.”

All winners are automatically enrolled in the Means Center’s Accelerator program, which provides year-round support for Illinois State student entrepreneurs. The following companies provide in-kind services to students in the Accelerator program:

  • Mavidea
  • Slingshot CoWork
  • Meyer Capel
  • Open Source Classroom
  • Rack Focused Productions
  • Bloomington/Normal Angel Investors Network
  • Internrocket