A total of $72,000 - $45,000 in cash - was awarded Tuesday at the Entrepreneurs of Erath banquet at Tarleton State University.

First place and $25,000 went to WHRL Solutions owned by Colin and April Thomson. 

“We had a difficult time choosing the winners," said Randy Burch, director of Tarleton's SPDC. "Everyone did a great job and we were all impressed with the quality of work submitted. We are excited about the positive economic impact this contest brings to the area, and expect to have new jobs created in Stephenville and Erath County as a result of this effort.”

According to the contest's brochure, "WHRL Solutions has developed a patent pending technology that captures heat energy and returns the energy back in the form of significant quantities of hot water. The heat energy removed from cows' milk is normally released into the atmosphere, however, the WHRLflo system recovers that energy and transfers it into hot water, saving dairy farmers time and money."

Second place and $15,000 went to AJT Compliance and third place and $5,000 was awarded to Texas Twisters.

Entrepreneurs of Erath is a program designed to help entrepreneurs in launching or expanding businesses in Erath County.

The contest awarded prizes to local entrepreneurs who wrote the best business plans. The prize money is intended as a catalyst to help a new business or to assist the development of an existing one.