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The NEO Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup Small Business Team has punched their ticket to the semi-final round with the development of a Smart Pantry app. The achievement marks the ninth consecutive year for the NEO program to rank in the top-8. Over the past 16 years, the Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup has provided students at 2- and 4-year colleges around the region a chance to develop their pitch skills and present real-world projects. With dozens of business plans and thousands of dollars in prize money up for grabs, NEO competes in the Small Business Division and is the only two-year school making the top-8 this year. “This competition gets more and more difficult each year with the number of universities competing in the Small Business Division,” said Calvin Becker, NEO Business and Technology Instructor and Love’s Cup Sponsor. “I was excited to see this group’s hard work pay off with getting to the presentations.” By making the semi-finals, the team of Ryleigh Cisneros, Caleb Fortney, Bret Lary, and Dylan Dollar will give presentations to judges and field questions, much like on the television show “Shark Tank.”

This year, the team has developed a plan for the Smart Pantry app, which would keep track of the food in a user’s pantry. Not only would it help in building a grocery list and reducing food waste, the app would also provide suggestions for meals based on the food currently in a user’s pantry. “They took on a big task this year in doing an app development, which posed many new challenges in understanding the technology requirements, sources of funding, and business model,” noted Becker. The NEO team will now prepare to compete in oral presentations on April 15-16 for a shot at up to $11,000 to split between the group. For more information on Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup or Business and Technology education at NEO, contact Becker at Calvin.Becker@neo.edu.

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