Ouachita Baptist University students recently competed in the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup statewide business plan competition in Fayetteville, Ark. Six students from Ouachita competed against students from colleges and universities across the state for cash prizes and the opportunity to move on to the 6th annual Tri-State Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup competition in Las Vegas from May 20-22.
Ouachita students Connor Burke, a senior business administration and finance major from Gilbert, Ariz.; Jason Cantwell, a senior kinesiology and fitness major from Frisco, Texas; and Sarah McKimmey, a fall 2012 history graduate from Heath, Texas, finished second in the Undergraduate Category with their plan eScout, winning a $15,000 cash prize. They will move on to the Tri-State Governor’s Cup competition. Junior Lindsey Fowler’s plan, TrustedWills.com, finished first in the Undergraduate Elevator Pitch Competition and she was awarded $2,000.
The Governor’s Cup “is a statewide undergraduate and graduate business plan competition designed to encourage students in Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma to act upon their ideas and talents in order to produce tomorrow’s businesses,” according to the organization’s website. “This competition is aimed at simulating the real-world process of entrepreneurs creating a business plan to soliciting start-up funds from potential investors.”
“We’ve done the OBU Business Plan Competition for four years now and each year that we’ve done the internal competition, we’ve had teams advance to the semifinal round at the Governor’s Cup business plan competition,” said Bryan McKinney, dean of the Hickingbotham School of Business. “This was our first year to have a team advance to the final round, and this year was particularly special to see two of our teams advance to the final round of six teams. We were the only school in the state with two teams in the final six.”
After finishing second in the Ouachita Business Plan Competition and third in the OBU/HSU Business Plan Competition, Burke, Cantwell and McKimmey said they were thrilled to win second in their category at the Governor’s Cup competition.
“I was shocked, while Connor slapped me on the back and screamed,” Cantwell said. “The atmosphere was exciting with competitive tension.
“eScout is a scouting service that uses high quality equipment to film soccer tournaments all over the U.S. for coaches to view,” Cantwell explained. “Connor and I came up with the idea through my experience with film, the recruiting needs of the coaches and the advisement of a business professor, Dr. Phil Rice.”
McKinney said he is thrilled for eScout to have made it this far. “I’ve watched them present now at the OBU competition, at the OBU/HSU competition, in the semifinal round and in the final round at the Governor’s Cup competition. They are bright students with a passion for soccer, which is at the heart of their very unique business plan.”
Fowler won both the Ouachita Business Plan Competition and the OBU/HSU Competition with her plan, TrustedWills.com.
“TrustedWills.com is an interactive website where our customers can create a last will and testament, living will and a power of attorney in less than seven minutes in a comfortable and user-friendly environment,” Fowler said. The website will serve Arkansas and Texas for the first 12 months and expand nationally within three years of its launch on June 1, 2013.
“I have gained so much from this entire process; I believe it has been one of the aspects of my time at OBU that has had the greatest impact on me,” Fowler added. “I have also found a tangible way to incorporate my love of business with a passion for helping those in communities who may have needs that are currently being overlooked. TrustedWills.com allows us to run a successful business while providing a meaningful service to families and giving them a peace of mind that is truly priceless.”
“I think any time educators can figure out how to bridge the theory taught in the classrooms with the real world that takes place outside the classroom, good things will happen,” McKinney said.
For more information, contact Bryan McKinney at email@example.com or (870) 245-5513. For more information about the Tri-State Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup competition, visit their website at http://dwrgovernorscup.org.