UI Business Student Wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Jared Garfield isn't much of a race fan, but he might pay a little more attention to the Indianapolis 500 this year. Garfield, a senior in The University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business and an entrepreneur, recently won $10,000 for his start-up business by pitching his business plan while riding in a limousine around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's legendary brickyard.
The competition was called the Nascent 500, and it was sponsored by Ball State University's Entrepreneurship Center in Muncie, Ind. In the semifinal round of the competition, Garfield had 500 seconds to pitch his business idea to three judges while sitting in a limo as it cruised the track.
Garfield's business, J & J Solutions, Inc., has developed a patent-pending medical device that provides a safer, more effective, efficient, and affordable method for handling hazardous drugs, initially targeting chemotherapy. Garfield said the company has already obtained definitive proof of concept, an initial prototype, and market validation. The company is set to finalize its nonprovisional patents and complete a fully functional prototype by the end of this year while continuing to raise the necessary capital. His partner in the company, John Slump, is a 2008 UI graduate.
Garfield said that at first he didn't at first feel too terribly awe-inspired by the unique and historic setting of the Indy speedway.
"I've participated in a lot of competitions like this, so when I do them, I kind of get in a zone and block that stuff out," he said. "Plus, it was a crammed ride because three judges, a timer, a photographer, and a driver were in the car with me, and the windows were tinted, so it was difficult to see outside."
Afterward, though, when he looked around the speedway, the moment hit him.
"I never realized how huge that track is," he said. "It was really an experience more than just an event and really well done."
While the finals of the competition were held in a more traditional setting--the speedway's press box--the competition milked the Indy 500 setting for all is was worth. For instance, as the winner of the competition Garfield was escorted to the winner's circle to drink a bottle of milk, just as the winning driver does every year. He also took a victory lap in the Corvette that was used as the race's pace car last year.
"We went about 125 mph and that was pretty exciting, going into those turns," he said.
Contact: Tom Snee, UI News Services, 319-384-0010