Student-team from School of Business wins Miami Herald's Business Plan Challenge

Doggy-Duo makes walking two dogs tangle-free endeavor

Pictured left to right: left to right: Doggy-Duo creator Anthony Lisiewski and teammates Jeffrey Willis and Carlos Musibay show off the Doggy-Duo prototype while making a video presentation at the Miami Herald studios.

A team of graduating seniors from Barry University’s Andreas School of Business won the People’s Pick award in 10th Annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge. Doggy-Duo, a retractable dog leash with a pivoting spinner at the end of it, was chosen as one of six finalists out of more than 70 entries. The six finalists then made short videos that were posted on the Herald’s Web site, where Doggy-Duo came out on top receiving 1,442 out of 4,438 votes.

“I was very excited, but wasn't surprised when we found out that we had won,” said Doggy-Duo creator Anthony Lisiewski. “I knew we had a good chance of winning because our product was very simple but extremely unique. It works very well and we received excellent feedback during our feasibility analysis.”

In addition to their quality product, Lisiewski also attributes the recent win to support from the Barry community.

“Our teacher had the dean at Barry put it on the student website and told everyone to vote for us,” he said. “We also got the student newspaper to write about it.”

Lisiewski developed the idea as a project for his undergraduate Entrepreneurship class taught by Dr. Betty Diener. As part of the project, students are asked to develop a unique product and develop a business plan to introduce it to the market. According to the group’s research, 37.2 percent of all U.S. households own dogs, while the average household has 1.7 dogs, making a substantial potential market for the product.

In addition, Lisiewski has personal experience with the difficulties of walking multiple dogs at one time.

“I have an American Bull Dog, Kilo, and my roommate has four dogs, so I know what it’s like to walk two or more dogs and get all tangled up when one wants to go one way and the other one another.”

Lisiewski teamed up with seniors Carlos Musibay, Jeffery Willis and Mitch Rodriguez to develop a business and marketing plan for Doggy-Duo. “We thought of a lot of different ways to help market and promote the product, including demonstrating it at local dog parks or donating a portion of the sales to the ASPCA or another organization that helps homeless dogs,” Lisiewski said.

With plans underway to protect the Doggy-Duo concept, Lisiewski is considering options for the company. “We could sell the idea and rights to a current leash manufacturer to collect a lump sum plus lifetime royalties, or we can start our own company by contacting manufacturers in China that make the retractors used in Doggy-Duo. Then we could order mass quantities of the parts and get them shipped to the United States, where we could assemble, sell, and distribute them.

Whatever direction Lisiewski decides to take with the product, Barry professor Betty Diener says the story of Doggy-Duo is quite remarkable.

“It started out as an idea for a class project, then they successfully made a prototype, and then they found out that the market for leashes by two-dog owners is worth billions. Now they've won the contest, and they're off and running to make it into a real business. It’s quite a story for an undergraduate class.”

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