May 18, 2023
Culver Military Academy roommates who proposed creating a business that would reward homeowners for keeping their houses well-maintained by lowering insurance costs won the Miclot Family Business Plan Competition.
John Afari-Aikins ’24 (Carmel, Indiana) and Britton Crockett ’25 (Johnson City, Tennessee), creators of Healthy Homes, won the $5,000 first prize provided through an endowment by Andy and Sharlene Miclot, who had two children graduate from Culver Academies. The competition is part of The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur.
Eighteen individuals or teams entered the contest, which is open to all Culver Academies students. Each entry was required to provide an executive summary of a business idea. Faculty in The Ron Rubin School narrowed the entries to five who presented their ideas.
Each team had up to seven minutes to present and up to five minutes to answer questions. The competition is actually an opportunity assessment plan competition. The term “business plan” was used for brevity.
The competition was judged by Dr. Noemi Adame, owner and chief pediatrician at Culver Pediatrics Center, a concierge pediatric and wellness clinic, and Andy Deggeller ’98, owner and operator of Deggeller Attractions, which provides amusement rides to events around the country.
Students were told to articulate value propositions to markets, financial understanding of cost structures, revenue streams, and risk assessment. Students also were required to seek the guidance of a mentor entrepreneur.
Afari-Aikins said Healthy Homes would encourage homeowners to perform preventative home maintenance while also helping to connect homeowners with contractors who could do the repairs at a discounted price. The plan is to have people have their home inspected every two years. The service would be offered through insurance companies and advertised through real estate companies.
“We provide a service where we connect homeowners with the right people at the right time,” Afari-Aikins said. “We stop small problems early before they become bigger issues.”
J.D. Uebler, director of The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur, said the judges were impressed with Healthy Homes because Afari-Akins and Crockett identified an accessible market.
“There was low overhead involved and they seemed to really understand their cost structures,” Uebler said. “Healthy Homes also answered all their questions with confidence and accurate information they had already thought through. The judges were impressed by that.”
Uebler said the judges also were impressed with the professionalism of the presentation of Afari-Aikins.
“He was poised, confident, and clear,” he said.
Crockett missed the competition because he was competing with the Culver rowing team at the Midwest Scholastic Championships in Milford, Michigan.
Jason Gu ’24 (Shanghai) and Jason Tang (Shanghai) ’25 won the $1,000 second prize for their Tuition Internship-Exchange Program, which would connect high school students in need of college tuition money and private employers in need of talented people.
“While most scholarships are limited and are only issued by government or institutions, this program would be open to any corporation seeking qualified students,” Tang said.
Aiden Cartmel ’25 (Mercer Island, Washington) and Ansen King ’24 (Brunevang, Denmark) won the $500 third prize for their business model INSIGHTIA, which uses open AI technology to customize research for students and academics through a freemium revenue model that offers free plans to attract new users and then charge extra for premium products.
“INSIGHTIA is an AI-coded search engine with an algorithm that allows it to narrow down through millions of online resources and documents to find the most specific, reliable, and relevant resources to the users prompt,” Cartmel said.
The other two finalists were last year’s Miclot competition winner, Sean Coxhead ’24 (Palmetto Bay, Florida) with Insured Securities Firm, which operates as an insurer for investors, and Shem Ndashimye ’24 creator of SAM, which would use AI software operated by the Treasury Department to eradicate the federal budget deficit.
Uebler said the judges were impressed by the quality of the ideas presented.
“They said they wished when they were in high school they had been exposed to the opportunity to have to think through operations, financials and marketing analyses when starting a business,” he said. “They saw value in all of the ideas and were impressed by the delivery of the pitches. They thought they were all viable in some ways.”