Walmart Announces Winning Team in 2013 Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge

University of Michigan students take home $20,000 grand prize

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – April 29, 2013 – Walmart, in collaboration with Net Impact, recently announced the winners of its annual Better Living Business Plan Challenge, a sustainable business plan competition for college and university students across the U.S. The Challenge provides students the unique opportunity to pitch their ideas to business and sustainability experts, get invaluable feedback and win seed funding to pursue their business plans.

Earlier this year, 50 teams competed in eight regional competitions across the country. The regional winners faced off for the Grand and First Place Prizes on Thursday, April 18 in Bentonville. These semifinalists presented business plans on topics such as state of the art solar panel coatings, closed loop cotton recycling and plastic building blocks, among others, and received individualized feedback from a judging panel that included both Walmart executives and a diverse group of business experts.* 

“The diversity and ingenuity of the business plans in this competition were truly impressive,” said James Stanway, senior director of global supplier initiatives in energy at Walmart. “It’s great to see students engaged in issues of sustainability and committed to innovating new business opportunities." 

The two teams that came out on top of such a competitive and diverse pool were students from the University of Michigan and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The finalists were announced Thursday, April 18 and they then prepared to face off at the Walmart Home Office Friday, April 19.

In front of a panel of Walmart executives and an auditorium of peers and Walmart associates, the team from MIT started off the final round with a 15 minute presentation. Their idea, called Takachar, is to turn landfill waste into charcoal briquettes that local households in Mombasa, Kenya can use for cooking fuel. University of Michigan students followed with Covaron, an advanced material that can outperform high-grade engineering ceramics for a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the embedded energy.

After both presentations, the team from the University of Michigan was named the Grand Prize winner and received a check for $20,000. MIT’s team was awarded $10,000 for its First Place win.

Congratulations to University of Michigan, MIT, and all the regional winners!

2013 Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge Semifinalists:

  • Bainbridge Graduate Institute
  • Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, Bren School of the Environment
  • University of Miami School of Business Administration
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

*University of Virginia and University of Miami were unable to present at the Semifinal Competition due to weather-related airport delays. They will compete for the Second Place Prize later this year.

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 245 million customers and members visit or more than 10,800 stores under 69 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2013 sales of approximately $466 billion, Walmart employs more than 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com and http://www.walmartgreenroom.com/, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmartgreen. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.  

About Net Impact
Net Impact is the leading nonprofit that inspires a new generation to use their careers to tackle the world’s toughest social and environmental problems. We empower student and professional leaders to act locally through our vibrant chapter network and connect globally online and through our flagship conference. By 2020, we will mobilize a million new leaders to drive positive change in the workplace and the world.