2023 TOP DOG New Venture Championship winners announced

May 23, 2023 | General News, Students

A total of $11,000 in cash and prizes was awarded during the TOP DOG New Venture Championship at Louisiana Tech University. Awards were given to the top two finishers as well as for entrepreneurial spirit.  

This past October, teams developed ideas and competed in the TOP DOG Idea Pitch. After the pitch, student teams had the option to continue with their ideas and build an investor deck to enter the preliminary round of the New Venture Championship. After the preliminary round, two teams advanced to compete in the TOP DOG New Venture Championship. 

Team Rayne Mycelia: Elijah Tomlin (Electrical Engineering) won first place and $3,000 with his solution to make fresh specialty mushrooms more accessible, one small farm at a time, with ambitions to be the online one-stop-shop for mushroom small holder farms.

Second place and $1,500 was awarded to Team Going My Way owner Alexander Isiani (Micro and Nanoscale System Doctoral Student). Going My Way is seeking to bring ride-sharing to Louisiana Tech, promising student drivers a stable supplemental income and student riders without their own car a method to get around campus and beyond.

Rayne Mycelia was also awarded the Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award of $2,000. 

Jones Walker LLP serves local, regional, national, and international business interests in a wide range of markets and industries. Today, they have over 355 attorneys in 15 locations. 

Supporting sponsors for the TOP DOG New Venture Championship include Jones Walker Law Firm, Century Next Bank, and the McGehee Foundation. The Innovation Enterprise, host of the Top Dog Competition, thanks the Louisiana Tech College of Business and Louisiana Tech College of Engineering and Science for their valued support and contribution.

Judges for the TOP DOG New Venture Championship included Marisol O’Neal, SVP, Treasury Management Officer at Origin Bank, Jessica Slaughter, AVP, LA Engagement and Marketing Officer at Century Next Bank, and Michael Leachman, Patent Attorney with Jones Walker Law Firm.

Teams are scored on the quality of their new venture investment deck and the overall viability of their business concept as well as their oral presentation. The TOP DOG competition was established in 2002 and is coordinated by Sarah Fegert, Director of Student Entrepreneurial Ecosystems at the Innovation Enterprise.