After winning the 2012 Ouachita Baptist University Business Plan Competition, Lindsey Fowler recently took first place at the third annual Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University Business Plan Competition.
“I am so proud of Lindsey!” said Bryan McKinney, dean of OBU’s Hickingbotham School of Business, associate professor of business law and university counsel. “I watched her participate in OBU’s Business Plan Competition as a freshman, and I thought she did a tremendous job. So, in many ways, I’m not surprised at all by her success. Those who know her, know what an exceptional student and person she is.”
A senior business administration/finance, political science and history triple major from Arkadelphia, Ark., Fowler is the first Ouachita student to win both the Ouachita and the HSU/OBU business plan competitions. This year, three teams from each university were invited to compete before judges from the surrounding business community.
Fowler’s winning business, TrustedWills.com, is a quick and easy, affordable website that, with a few simple questions, will help customers put together wills, living wills and powers of attorney. Specifically targeted at young parents, TrustedWills offers the peace of mind that comes with having a legitimate final will and testament. TrustedWills is tentatively set to launch “at the push of a button” on June 1 of this year, according to Fowler.
“I was very excited and relieved,” Fowler reflected about winning the competition. “There has been a lot of support, time, and energy invested in this business plan. I was very happy that everything went so smoothly!”
Her business plan’s ready-to-go status was the product of hours of revision and plenty of welcomed advice. For instance, instead of starting the web-based business in Arkansas and adding states one by one over time, the judges of the 2012 OBU Business Plan Competition suggested that the business go national in just three years. The website subsequently underwent an overhaul.
“It’s been a team effort,” Fowler said.
Dr. Terry Sergeant, a Ouachita graduate currently teaching computer science at Hardin-Simmons University, helped create the website for TrustedWills. Brent Gamble, a Ouachita graduate who is currently the vice president and director of digital and social media at Martin-Wilbourn Partners, LLC, advised Fowler on TrustedWills’ social media marketing. Bryan McKinney supervised the legal aspects of TrustedWills.
“The encouragement and support that we have received from the OBU community throughout this process has had a great impact on me,” Fowler said. “Everyone has been so interested in the process and willing to help in whatever way they can!”
Five other Ouachita students also competed in the HSU/OBU competition. Connor Burke, a senior accounting and business administration/finance major from Gilbert, Ariz.; Jason Cantwell, a junior kinesiology and fitness major from Frisco, Texas; and Sarah McKimmey, a senior history major from Heath, Texas, created a business called eScout, which won second place at the Ouachita Business Plan Competition and third place at the HSU/OBU competition. Jared Carlin, a senior accounting and business administration/finance major from Lubbock, Texas, and Rizvan Ceka, a junior business administration/management and finance major from Coppell, Texas, won third place in the Ouachita competition.
“I’m so proud of all the participants,” McKinney said. “I’d love to see some of those plans submitted to the Governor’s Cup as well.” McKinney also expressed special thanks to Dr. Chris Brune, assistant professor of finance, and Dr. Phil Rice, professor of business administration, for investing their time and effort advising the students who participated in the HSU/OBU Business Plan Competition.
Next, Fowler will submit her plan to the Arkansas Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition. If selected as a semi-finalist, she will present to a panel of judges in Fayetteville, Ark., on April 4. Winners will be announced in Little Rock on April 10 and will have the opportunity to compete in the Tri-State Business Plan Competition in Las Vegas in May.
For more information, contact Bryan McKinney at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5513.
By Rachel Gregory