BYU Hosts International Business Model Competition

More than $150,000 awarded to student-founded businesses

PROVO, Utah – May 12, 2015 – Kaitek Labs, a student-founded company based in Santiago, Chile, took home more than $30,000 in winnings at the International Business Model Competition held at Brigham Young University. This marks the first time an international team has won first place in the history of the event.

Kaitek Labs impressed the judging panels with its business model for a red tide bacteria detection kit — which changes colors to indicate contamination, similar in use to an at-home pregnancy test. The team represented one of eight countries to participate in this year’s competition.

Emilia Díaz, founder and CEO of Kaitek Labs, was excited for the opportunity to showcase her team’s unique viewpoints.

“Winning the competition helps show that people who are underrepresented in business can integrate new views and ideas,” says Díaz, who became the first woman to lead an IBMC-winning team. “I hope we can continue to grow and inspire all types of entrepreneurs.”

Second place and $20,000 went to REEcycle which reclaims rare earth elements from discarded electronics. Resumazing, a web service that helps job seekers land their dream jobs, took third place and $10,000.

These teams joined top student entrepreneurs from around the globe who gathered to compete at the world’s largest business model competition hoping to win a share of the $155,000 awarded during the two-day event. In addition to the main event, teams were also judged on a two-minute pitch about the most significant pivot their company has made during this year’s inaugural Pivot Pitch Competition.

Co-hosted by BYU’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and Harvard University, 40 teams were selected from a pool of more than 3,800 teams which participated in IBMC-affiliated competitions in recent months. Since the inception of the IBMC, participation has increased yearly from six universities in 2011 to 276 universities this year.

The IBMC allows young entrepreneurs not only a chance to win crucial funding for their ventures but also an opportunity to gain mentoring advice from some of the top business leaders in the world.

“We hope when students come and take advantage of the mentoring sessions that they will learn how to improve their business models and teach others what they learned,” says Pavel Yurevich, a mechanical engineering senior from Minsk, Belarus, and the IBMC student director.

Top IBMC Winners
First Place ($30,000): Kaitek Labs, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
Second Place ($20,000): REEcycle, University of Houston
Third Place ($10,000): Resumazing, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Fourth Place ($6,000): SimpleCitizen, Brigham Young University
Fifth Place ($5,000): Afri-Sea, Saint Mary’s University
Sixth Place ($4,000): Saans, Indian Institute of Technology

Pivot Pitch Competition ($1,000 each)
First Place: Resumazing, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Second Place: Awake Labs (Reveal), University of British Columbia
Third Place: Kaitek Labs, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems and public management. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs. 

Emilia Díaz, founder and CEO of Kaitek Labs, celebrates winning first place at the 2015 International Business Model Competition.
Nathan Furr, IBMC co-founder, Emilia Díaz, founder and CEO of Kaitek Labs, and Scott Petersen, Rollins Center managing director, celebrate Kaitek Labs' first place finish at the IBMC.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Collin Pace