On March 13, a group of three poets won the $100,000 Microsoft "Ultimate Challenge" small business competition for their proposal of establishing a poetry café. The Mayhem Poets—Mason Granger, Kyle Sutton, and Scott Tarazevits, three friends who met at Rutgers University in New Jersey—entered the contest with an idea for a full-service restaurant that holds daily poetry workshops and nightly poetry performances. The total prize, valued at $224,000, also includes a rent-free New York City storefront for one year and a package of Microsoft software.
The group, which has performed at schools, jails and corporate events for four years, defeated five thousand other entrants, including three finalists who entered ideas for an organic beauty bar, a custom wallpaper store, and a fashion rental service. The judges were Carolyn Kepcher, formerly of Donald Trump’s television show The Apprentice, fashion designer Liz Lange, and Microsoft vice president Chris Capossela.