A business idea to package beer in a way that lowers costs and improves efficiency in the booming craft brewing market has won RMIT University’s 2012 Business Plan Competition.
Easy Keg – which offers microbreweries and home brewers a cheaper and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional kegs and bottles – was last night awarded the $25,000 RMIT University First Prize, the $5,000 The Litmus Group Environmental Sustainability Award at a gala awards ceremony, a lap top and several in-kind services.
RMIT Graduate Certificate in Project Management student Kelly Bosman, leader of the Keg King team behind the business idea, said it was thrilling to receive such a vote of confidence from a judging panel made up of independent industry and business leaders. Total prize money to all winners in 2012 was more than $100,000.
What does Easy Keg plan to do? How did they manage to win?
According to founder Kee Doery, “Keg King is dedicated to producing great quality keg dispensing and beer brewing equipment for our customers, from kegerators to gas bottles. We’ve got everything you could possibly want to dispense bitterly cold beverages from tap.”
“I am absolutely ecstatic about winning the RMIT business plan competition and can’t wait to bring the business idea to fruition. I totally recommend anyone with a business idea to enter into the competition.”
Kelly Bosman said, “It was such a great outcome. Winning 1st place and also the environmentally sustainable award was a dream come true. I still can’t believe it! It almost feels a bit surreal. We can’t wait to take the business to the next level and get the Easy Keg to market”
Ms Bosman also praised industry mentors who helped her team refine its plan.
“Karen Foo from NAB was amazingly helpful and she gave us expertise in the finance area that maybe we didn’t have,” she said.
“To have access to industry judges and get their feedback is a huge help when putting a business plan together, while the additional workshops in financial planning and intellectual property were also incredibly useful.”
With craft brewing growing by about 30% a year, Ms Bosman said there was strong demand for better and cheaper packaging to help microbreweries distribute their beer more efficiently and enable more home brewers to switch from bottles to kegs.
“The $30,000 in prizes we have won in the RMIT Business Plan Competition will enable us to make our business dream a reality far sooner than we imagined.”
A cheaper, reusable and recyclable alternative to traditional stainless steel kegs and bottling, the Easy Keg incorporates an outer PET shell with an inner liner that holds the beer. I’ll drink to that!
The business concept extends to the establishment of the Easy Keg Network, similar to the gas bottle “Swap and Go” system, allowing kegs to be swapped and refilled.
What is the RMIT Business Plan Competition?
The RMIT Business Plan Competition is one of the biggest programs of its type in Australia and is open to undergraduate, postgraduate and TAFE students across all RMIT campuses in Melbourne and Vietnam.
More than 2,900 students have taken part since 2001, with many past competitors now running successful businesses in Australia and around the world.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice-President, Professor Gill Palmer, commended the efforts of the 10 finalists and paid tribute to all 112 teams who took part in the 2012 competition.
“This competition has run for 12 years and goes from strength to strength, now including our offshore campuses,” Professor Palmer said.
“It helps student entrepreneurs bring a sound business approach to their exciting new ventures and offers a support structure that enables them to develop their talent while learning from real-life
“With their generous support, the industry mentors help the students in each team build invaluable skills and networks to give their start-up ideas an edge in the fast-moving, highly-competitive world of entrepreneurial business.”