Business students up for challenge


Left to right (above) Chris Van Natta, Shannon Browne, Mary Mruscovic and Ken Stenger won Second Place for their business idea HygieneHero.

Entrepreneurs from Alvernia's Business 431 entrepreneurship class contributed and participated in the 2015 Greater Reading Chamber Business Idea Challenge. The university entered three new business ideas in the competition. After the first judging round, the three entries from Alvernia were named finalists.

All finalists presented their ideas in a “Shark Tank” venue, judged by local business owners and executives. From the list of finalists, three winners received monetary prizes. A group of Alvernia students received Second Place with their HygieneHero business idea.

HygieneHero addresses contamination of most commonly used object: the door handle. The product is a motion-activated door knob spraying device that ensures people touch a clean doorknob every time. About the size of a greeting card, the device squirts a quick drying spray onto the door handle. Initially, HygieneHero’s target market will be schools in the local area, followed by all of Pennsylvania. A small manufacturing/warehouse facility in the Reading area is planned to produce this product. Shannon Browne, Mary Mruskovic, Ken Stenger and Chris Van Natta created the idea and developed the winning HygieneHero business plan.

Alvernia's two other finalist business ideas included Marsh Madness and U-Pick Farms.

Marsh Madness is an alternative sport facility for paintballing. Madness Paintball will have an outdoor playing facility, as well as a concession stand and rental shop, and will focus on the creation of a youth league. The league play will become a foundation for the facility to grow its customer base and promote the sport of paintball to new customers. Marsh Madness is a unique paintball facility located in the vicinity of Blue Marsh. Its business idea was created by James Bangar, Anthony Galeano and Robert Kohler.

U-Pick Farms is designed to be an alternative way to improve the area by helping those living here eat healthier — for less money than it would cost at a supermarket or grocery store. Food will be grown locally on a small farm run by the people who started the business. Classes will be provided to promote not only the business, but also a healthy eating mindset. U-Pick is an all-natural garden and market where customers looking to purchase fresh goods can come to shop and choose what items they want fresh from the field. Customers can hand pick their food or direct a U-Pick employee to pick items for them. The business idea for U-Pick Farms was developed by Matt Backlund, Spiro Keene, Craig Mellinger and Tyler Reinoehl.

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