February 23, 2016
By Mike Killeen
College of Saint Benedict senior Jerly Alcala captured top honors at the annual Eric Rego Big Idea Competition Feb. 16 at Gorecki Family Theater, CSB.
Alcala won $500 for her 90-second pitch on "Tasty Tacos Tonight." She is a philosophy major from Riverton, Utah.
The Eric Rego Big Idea Competition celebrates students who have the creativity to produce a big idea. The contest is named in honor of entrepreneurial student Eric Rego, a 2006 graduate of SJU who passed away in December 2008.
Approximately 60 students submitted 30-second videos about their entrepreneurial ideas. From that group, 10 were selected to participate in the Feb. 16 event.
Placing second in the competition was Felicia Mix, a sophomore sociology major from St. Michael, Minnesota. She won $300 for her idea, "Healthy Benefits."
Precious Drew, a sophomore global business leadership major from Minneapolis, placed third. She won $200 for her idea, "Binge Central," which dealt with sharing Netflix accounts.
It was the first time in the eight-year history of the event that the top three spots were swept by CSB students, noted Paul Marsnik, professor of global business leadership at CSB and SJU and academic director of the Entrepreneur Scholars program for the center.
"The competition this year was very intense and Jerly, Felicia and Precious did a fantastic job on their pitches," Marsnik said.
Three CSB and SJU graduates judged the presentations — Margaret Murphy, president and COO of Olson Marketing; Matt Johnson, director of inventions and strategy at GoKart Labs; and Ed Driscoll, CEO of Rational Energies. SJU graduate Ryan Wold served as master of ceremonies.
The competition is co-sponsored by the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at CSB and SJU, Mark and Sonia Rego (Eric's parents) and Jim Oricchio, who was Eric's work supervisor at Coordinated Business Solutions.
"Eric possessed many of the characteristics that we hold dear here at CSB/SJU and at the McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship," Marsnik said. "Eric was bold, curious, humble and he embraced ambiguity. We are very proud to say that Eric Rego was, and still is, a part of our Entrepreneur Scholars program."