University of Minnesota Crookston business students, Ben Goelz and Matt Thielen, along with their friend, Matt Gendreau, from the University of St. Thomas, recently participated in e-Fest at the University of St. Thomas and took third place at the competition. The team received $20,000 to advance their business, "Greenscapes."

Goelz, Thielen, and Gendreau created Greenscapes which takes recycled glass bottles, crushes them, and turns them into fine sand that can be used on golf courses. The students submitted their idea and pitch online in February, along with 110 other teams in the initial round, and were announced as one of the top 25 teams. They were invited to attend the in-person competition April 27-29, and emerged in third place. The team was advised by Assistant Professor Rachel Lundbohm and Senior Lecturer Craig Miller.

"We are so proud of the team!" exclaimed Lundbohm. "They did such a great job at the event!" 

"Matt, Matt, and Ben received great business feedback from the distinguished team of judges, all accomplished entrepreneurs," added Miller. "Rachel and I were thrilled and very proud of our guys! It was a wonderful weekend for all!"

"The competition and prize money was funded by a generous man named Dick Schulze, founder of Best Buy," Miller continued. "Our students' team was selected as one of the five finalists, and their pitch was excellent and greatly impressed the judges. They finished third overall and took home a $20,000 prize to seed their business idea. Their business is a novel way for golf courses to be more eco friendly AND make a pile of money. They will collect glass bottles that are bound for the landfill and with a special crusher machine  convert it to fine sand to be used in bunkers. The Professional Golf Association has already sanctioned this technology as within the rules. Pro Golfers have tested it and found it performed as well or better than the sand used with championship courses."

e-Fest® is an action-packed three-day celebration of undergraduate entrepreneurship featuring workshops, networking and three separate competitions awarding up to $215,000 in cash prizes.

eFest competition at the University of St. Thomas

UMN Crookston eFest competitors Ben Goelz and Matt Thielen along with their teammate Matt Gendreau
UMN Crookston at the 2023 eFest
UMN Crookston eFest competitors Ben Goelz and Matt Thielen along with their teammate Matt Gendreau

Story Contact: Rachel Lundbohm - - (218) 281-8190