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CONNECTING YOU TO THE FRANKLIN P. PERDUE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS  MAY 2013
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Perdue Students Win Socio-Sustainability Entrepreneurship Business
Plan Competition

Teams from George Washington University, Howard University, Shenandoah University, the host team from the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), and the University of Maryland joined the team from the Perdue School in the inaugural Socio-Sustainability Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition at the UDC in April. Lori Defnet and Richard Baldwin represented the Perdue School with their business plan for Chesapeake BIOHeat, placing first in the competition.

Chesapeake BIOHeat sells a carbon negative heating system that is powered by wood pellets. This new technology allows consumers to produce household heat, as well as a fertilizer byproduct called biochar. Their proposed business plan offered an alternative, cheap and sustainable energy source for homeowners on the Eastern Shore. Utilizing recycled wood pellets, Chesapeake BIOHeaters turn waste back into energy in the form of household heat and fertilizer.

Baldwin and Defnet’s project, Chesapeake BIOHeat, easily won the UDC competition; the panel of judges was impressed by both the quality of the project and by the team’s excellent presentation skills. Despite a difficult 10-minute, question-and-answer session from the judges following their presentation, the Perdue team effectively solidified any concerns the judges had about the feasibility of their business plan. After all the presentations concluded, the team waited over an hour for the judges to calculate results. The judges said that the winning team from the Perdue School was picked in mere seconds; the decision between second (UDC) and third (GW) took the remainder of the time.

Baldwin and Defnet went on to compete their same Chesapeake BIOHeat project in the Perdue School’s Entrepreneurship Competitions the next weekend, making it to the final round and placing third in the Gull Cage. Embracing advice earned from both competitions, the team is looking to continue with their idea and start the company, Chesapeake BIOHeat, in the near future.


Lori Defnet and Richard Baldwin

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