Colorado State University team takes first place in CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge Collegiate competition


FORT COLLINS — Fargreen, founded by a team of MBA students from Colorado State University, has won the inaugural CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge Collegiate Track business pitch competition, earning a grand prize of $20,000 in cash, one year of business coaching from EMyth, one year of entrepreneurship mentoring from Blue Ocean Enterprises, $2,500 in equipment from HP, and moving on to compete in the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge Enterprise Track, with a grand prize of $250,000.


Fargreen is a social enterprise that will help Vietnamese farmers grow gourmet mushrooms in straw left over after the rice harvest. The zero-waste technique helps generate additional income for farmers while combatting the environmental problems of burning rice straw as waste.


“Winning the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge Collegiate Track is more than a dream come true,” said Trang Tran, co-founder of Fargreen. She and business partner Tanmay Telang will receive their degrees from the CSU Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise program later this month.  “This money brings us one step closer to our goal of $150,000 to build our production facility in Vietnam.”


“We didn’t expect this,” Tanmay added. ”We had a social enterprise, but to find that we also have a solid business model is very gratifying.”


The second prize of $10,000 was awarded to Living Ink Technologies founded by Scott Fulbright and Steve Albers, Ph.D. candidates at CSU, and the competition’s third prize of $5,000 went to MemPrint Dynamics, a team of engineers from the University of Colorado-Boulder, Robert Altman and KatieRae Williamson.


Prizes were awarded after an intense day of competition May 2 at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center by Curt Richardson, co-founder of Blue Ocean Enterprises and founder and chairman of OtterBox; Charisse Bowen, director of the Colorado State University Institute for Entrepreneurship; and Ajay Menon, dean of the CSU College of Business.


“We congratulate Fargreen and are very proud of all of the Collegiate Track competitors, who spent months refining their pitches and preparing to win,” said Bowen. “We are grateful to our panel of honored judges and sponsorship partners for helping to create an event that celebrates collegiate entrepreneurs across Colorado.”


Fargreen outpitched 14 collegiate teams from three other Colorado universities, receiving the highest marks from a judges panel of Jim Deters, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Galvanize; John Greff, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Sequel Venture Partners; Frank Mendicino III, Managing Director, Access Venture Partners; Tomm Cripps, Deputy Chairman for Velcro Industries, N.V., Founder of ET Capital Partners, L.P., and Founder of Footyboots, LLC; and Kevin Tice, Investor, board member, and CFO of Apex Ski Boots.


Fargreen goes on to compete with 16 established startups in the Enterprise Track of the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge on May 23-24, in Fort Collins.


A collaboration of Blue Ocean Enterprises and Colorado State University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and College of Business, with major support from HP, E-Myth, 1st Bank, and the City of Fort Collins, the competition was created to ignite entrepreneurial spirit, attract and recognize the best new business ideas, and celebrate the Fort Collins and Colorado entrepreneurial ecosystem.


For more information and to register to attend the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge events, go to