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Carter Wins Graves Business Plan Competition

Alex Carter speaking at competition. Long blonde hair, glasses.

MABE senior and biomedical engineering major Alexandria Carter won first place and $5,000 in the Growth category at the fall 2022 Graves Business Plan Competition to fund her start-up company Out of the Box Appliances. A total of $20,000 was awarded to six student companies in the competition, hosted by UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and designed to give UT undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs a hands-on experience in a multi-round competition ending with a 10-minute in-person pitch for investment.

photo of Alex demonstrating the hand mixer she designed

Carter demonstrating the hand mixer she 3D printed.

Carter’s winning business plan was to cultivate a kitchen appliance line with removable, rechargeable batteries in efforts to not only keep kitchens clean and safe but to be able to elevate the kitchen experience by taking these appliances outdoors.

“You can now have a powerful blender, no strings attached, at UT tailgates, and you can take ‘camping cook’ to the next level,” said Carter.

Carter, an avid baker, was able to use skills she learned in class to 3D print an actual prototype of a hand mixer for the presentation portion of the competition and received a lot of positive feedback.

“Winning this competition means my dream of combining passion and career in one space has come true,” said Carter. “Incorporating baking into engineering is something I never thought to be the reality I’d live in, but I am beyond excited to say that winning the Graves Business Plan Competition has made that possible.”

Photo of Alex Carter holding Graves Competition Award

Carter (center) holding her first-place award.

Carter plans to use the funds to file a provisional patent for the battery technology she is hoping to renovate and elevate, file for a business license to make the company official, and create a high functioning, but rough, prototype using 3D printing, various battery sources, and the UT machine shop for the metal blender pieces.

Carter is thankful for the professors and mentors she has had throughout this journey including computer engineer Eric Dobson and business advisor Ethan Ly.

“Eric and Ethan were so crucial in this competition and have both agreed to continue being a crucial part of developing this business,” said Carter. “Ethan is the one who originally brought this idea to life by explaining how we would really go about this from a technical perspective, and Eric guided me through the business planning every step of the way, making sure I was knowledgeable on the ins and outs of opening a business built for success.”