Adam Edmunds, founder and president of SilentWhistle LLC, was named Brigham Young University's 2004 Student Entrepreneur of the Year. The first-place finish earned him $12,500 cash and another $12,500 in support services for his new venture.
Edmunds was one of five student finalists who presented businesses at BYU's 13th annual Student Entrepreneur of the Year Competition. Paul Lowry, founder of The Builder's Guide, placed second; Lawton Smith of System Technology Inc. placed third; Brock Henderson of Osmond Designs Inc. placed fourth; and Kara Forrest of Provo Fro-Yo placed fifth.
A panel of successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists selected Edmunds as the 2004 winner. His company, SilentWhistle, produces whistle-blowing software to help companies prevent illegal and unethical activities within their organization and provides public companies with compliance systems required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. SilentWhistle is the first company to develop a comprehensive web-based system for whistle blowing, a process usually done by phone.
During the competition, each finalist gave a ten-minute PowerPoint presentation highlighting each business and fielded questions from the judges. The judges, all founders of the BYU Center for Entrepreneurship, scored each presentation for management skills, business numbers and entrepreneurial opportunity.
"We love coming here and participating," said Jim Sheffield, owner of Sheffield Homes Inc. and one of the judges. "The caliber of the Marriott School students is great--their ideas, energy and excitement. That's why we give time, money and energy. We get pumped up too and want to go home and do a better job."
All five finalists left the competition with at least $2,000 in cash and an additional $3,000 in supportive services. Lowry says he plans to use the money to pay off start-up debt and research new products. All prize money and in-kind services come from contributions to the BYU Center for Entrepreneurship.
The Student Entrepreneur of the Year competition began in 1992 as a way to recognize students who start their own businesses while still in school. The event is sponsored by the the BYU Center for Entrepreneurship and the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs
Writer: Sarah Chamberlin