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CreativiTea wins annual Montana University John Ruffatto business plan competition

May 13, 2011View for printing

John Beltrone and Emese Vitalis and CreativiTea won the 22nd annual University of Montana John Ruffatto Business Plan Competition ... tition.aspx , which showcases the entrepreneurial aspirations of students across the state.

CreativiTea is an epicurean custom blend tea retailer. The company will be based in Missoula and sell direct to the consumer via the Internet and social media sites. The CreativiTea team also took the prize for best elevator pitch, an award that recognizes the team's ability to explain the plan in three minutes. Collectively, this team won prize money totaling $9,000.

Second place in the competition was awarded to Robert Reum and The $4,000 prize was awarded to this company that will sell specialty backdrops to small venues and individual musical performers.

Third place worth $2,000 was awarded to Dance of the Sun, a plan submitted by students from Montana State University-Billings. The plan outlined a business that would market Native American art, beginning with artists from the Crow Reservation.

The lifestyle division for smaller businesses was dominated by Bahia, a Brazilian-theme restaurant plan developed by Tom Snyder. Snyder was also honored with the Passion, Poise and Charisma award, as well as being named the People's choice. Collectively, Bahia and Snyder won $5,000.

Other awards given were to Good Times, runner-up in the lifestyle division ($1,000) and the Environmental and Social Responsibility award ($1,000) went to Zerosion and Greg Sietz for his erosion-control product.

Montana Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs recognizes the importance of entrepreneurship and works through the University of Montana to bring entrepreneurial experience to the classroom. MADE also conducts an educational seminar series and the Pioneer and Industry awards celebrating business leaders' commitment to Montana. For more information about MADE, go to

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