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Kartorium Takes Home $11,000 in Cash Prizes During the 2023 Business Plan Competition

April 13, 2023
Business Plan Competition Winners

The College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Business Plan Competition, which concluded Friday April 7 with over $17,000 in cash prizes awarded.


Kartorium, owned by Jay Byam, took the Grand Prize ($8,000), Sustainability Award ($2,000), and First Fortune 500 Award ($1000). Byam attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he received graduate and undergraduate degrees in computer science. He developed 3D, VR, and AR experiences for exhibits and trade shows in one of his first jobs as a programmer.

“It's very important to prove that successful business can come out of Alaska,” Byam said. “I see that most promising young people my age and younger leave the state to pursue more legitimate opportunities. My hope is that a few strong examples of local entrepreneurship will inspire a wave of innovation from the next generation, showing them that it's possible and that it's possible here.”

Kartorium offers an intuitive online 3D digital twin platform that allows non-technical users to create and share interactive virtual copies of real-world environments. Users at all levels in an organization can annotate their digital twins with relevant information including videos, images, documents, and live data feeds. It has been in operation for three years and now serves clients across several sectors, including energy, water utilities, seafood processing, and housing.

APEX LadderBox LLC

APEX LadderBox LLC, owned by Ross Spencer, earned Second Place ($4,000) and the People's Choice Award ($2,000). Spencer is a UAA student majoring in business management with an emphasis in real estate management. Inspiration for his business comes from watching his dad remodel their house. “I watched him work so hard. I got the job staged at the bottom of the ladder to hand tools up and down (without a cellphone to keep me entertained), I started thinking there’s got to be a better way.”

Spencer's Apex LadderBox is a unique storage solution that attaches to the top of a ladder and is designed to increase safety and convenience by providing a stable place for workers to keep tools and materials.

Dr. Helena S. Wisniewski, professor of entrepreneurship and chair of UAA’s Management, Marketing, Logistics and Business Analytics Department, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, organized the 2023 Business Plan Competition. She brought together an impressive team of judges from Alaska to the East Coast, who deliberated and ultimately awarded $17,000 in cash prizes this year.

“[The work that Dr. Helena Wisniewski and the competitors are doing] fits so beautifully with our mission of engaging the local community and advancing excellence through innovation." - UAA Provost Denise Runge.


Business Plan Competition Judges

Judges for the 2023 CBPP Business Plan Competition are dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship, innovation and Alaska start-ups. They are:

  • Jon Bittner, State Director, Alaska Small Business Development Center (AK SBDC)
  • Art Clark, Co-founder, Alaska Real Estate Associates (AREA)
  • Linda Janes, Director, gBETA Anchorage gener8tor
  • Allan Johnston, Chief Encouragement Officer
  • James Kostka, Chief Operating Officer and Owner, Alaskan Data Solutions
  • Steve Socolof, Managing Partner, Tech Council Ventures
  • Dr. Helena S. Wisniewski, Professor of Entrepreneurship & Chair, Department of Management, Marketing, Logistics, and Business Analytics, UAA College of Business and Public Policy, Fellow National Academy of Inventors
  • Greg Wolf, Executive Director, World Trade Center Alaska (WTCAK)
  • Joel Yarmon, Founder and Managing Director, Pipeline Capital Partners
  • Joe Zimmermann, Owner/Director, Cook Inlet Marketing Group Inc.


Generous sponsors for the 2023 CBPP Business Plan Competition include:

  • Supporting Partners: Alaska Community Foundation, Allan Johnston, GCI, Northrim Bank
  • Partners: Alyeska Pipeline, Educational Legacy Fund
  • Sponsors: Alaskan Data Solutions