Rollins Center Announces 2020 SEOY Winners
PROVO, Utah – May 07, 2020 – During current economic uncertainties, BYU student entrepreneurs are providing hope for the economy and the future as they continue developing businesses while earning degrees. Each year, the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the BYU Marriott School of Business recognize these individuals by awarding the Student Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY). For 2020, Daniel Quarnberg of Pyxis Manufacturing was the recipient of the award.
“Winning the SEOY award often means that your company is producing more than a million dollars in revenue and that you are currently one of the most successful entrepreneurs across all of BYU undergrad and graduate programs,” says Cannon Simmons, an entrepreneurial management student from Discovery Bay, California, and president of BYU’s Entrepreneurship Club.
As the winner of the SEOY award, Quarnberg, a JD/MBA student from Eielson, Alaska, received $2,000, in addition to gaining valuable connections through the Rollins Center. “The Rollins Center has provided incredible mentorship and has helped me develop a social and professional network,” he says. Quarnberg’s company, Pyxis Manufacturing, specializes in producing personalized textile products for customers in the mom, baby, and children markets.
Quarnberg believes the award recognizes his hard work over the last few years. “Something that often goes unnoticed about starting and running a small business is just how much effort is required: the sweat, the blood, the fortune, and the tears; the work and the sacrifice; enjoying the incredible highs but being able to endure the devastating lows,” he says. “To me, this award recognizes and validates all of those things.”
To be considered for the SEOY award, students first submit applications about their companies. After reviewing the applications, a panel of judges comprised of staff from the Rollins Center, the president of the Entrepreneurship Club, and a local venture capitalist interviews each candidate. Winners are selected based on revenue and profit figures, leadership qualities, and the company’s business plan for growth and margin improvement.
Marissa Barlow was chosen as a finalist for the SEOY and was awarded $1,500 for her company, Nani Swimwear, which specializes in stylish, easy-to-wear swimsuits. The pre-business student from Logan, Utah, recognizes how her business has been able to help other women. “I have received countless messages from women around the world who are inspired by the brand and its story,” she says. “Knowing that my business is making a difference in people's lives is incredibly gratifying.”
Ben Webber, an international relations major and Orem native was chosen as the other finalist for the SEOY award. Webber has seen the difference his digital-marketing service, Big Red Jelly, has made in the lives of others. “I have seen many of our clients grow substantially and take their businesses to the next level through our services,” says Webber. “As our company works alongside our clients and sees them grow, we share in their enthusiasm in making their business dreams become a reality.” Webber was awarded $1,000 for his company.
Rollins Center associate director Jeff Brown believes these student entrepreneurs are a beacon for the future. “While there are so many economic uncertainties in the world right now, our BYU students give us hope that the economy will move forward as they resiliently pave their way ahead even in difficult times,” says Brown. “These students remind us there are bright spots and hope in this darkness.”
Additional student entrepreneurs recognized included:
- Nathan Allen, Big Rock Adventure
- Brandon Bateman, Bateman Collective
- Pablo Diaz, Missionary Packages LLC
- Willy Hogan, Luma Water
- Mark McKellar & Tyler Welch, RxFIT
- Bridger Pennington, Black Bridge Holdings & Investment Fund
- Derrikk Sun, Frontline Fom
- Abby Warner and Zoia Ali, The Girls Company
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Nikaela Smith