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UWO student Shane Kinson pitches the business model for his NoiseStil technology.

Bright ideas have the potential to become successful businesses.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh student Shane Kinson, an audio production/music business major thinks his idea is a good one. He captured the attention of judges as top entry in the recent Culver’s Business Model Competition.

The 2024 Culver’s Business Model Competition was held April 10 at Sage Hall.

Kinson showcased his entry, NoiseStil, which won 1st Place and People’s Choice awards. He is developing a pair of specialty noice-cancelling headphones for autistic individuals to better integrate them into the workplace amonth their non-autistic peers. The headphones will be able to both expand and compress sound to a user-desired level and only pick up sounds from certain directions–preventing both distractions and overstimulation.

Kinson edged William Dorsett, who is majoring in mechanical engineering technology, with his Fueled by Courage business which earned runner-up honors as a manufacturer of  tools and equipment, including modular gear lockers, for the fire service industry. Third place went to Noah Bauer, a marketing major who showcased Mill City Farms.

Kinson and Dorsett advance to compete April 24 in The Pitch, a regional startup business pitch competition among college student teams in northeast Wisconsin. The event is being held at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton and is open to the public.

Mentors and support

Judges for the Culver’s Business Model Competition, with a total prize package of approximately $27,500 in cash and in-kind prizes, were Pat Van Abel, business coach/entrepreneur, Badger Sports Park+; Ellie Gunville, co-owner, E/Power Marketing; Meghann Kasper, chief credit officer, Bank First; Raina Lyman, director of small business and entrepreneurship, Envision Greater Fond du Lac; and Dayne Rusch, CEO, Vyper Industries.

In-kind providers were Quill Creative; The Venture Project; The Olympia Group LLC; Elevate Accounting; Amundsen Davis; Olson Legal Group; Renning, Lewis & Lacy S.C.; and E/Power Marketing.

UWO alumnus Craig Culver was a special guest and spoke about the founding of Culver’s restaurants at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s signature event that brings students from across all areas of study to pitch their business ideas and compete for cash prizes and business development support.

Learn more:

The Pitch

College students to compete in annual business pitch contest