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Arkansas State Business Plan Team Advances In 2013 Governor’s Cup


JONESBORO, Ark. – Arkansas State’s entry into the first round of the 2013 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup competition has advanced to the next level. ARAqua Farms, a business plan for an Aquaponics company developed by a team of ASU students, is a finalist for the Best Agriculture Award (undergraduate division).

The team will deliver the oral presentation April 4 at the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville. The winners will be announced at an awards luncheon, Wednesday, April 10, at 11:30 a.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center, Wally Allen Ballroom, in Little Rock.

The team, one of five ASU teams entered, is composed of Sarah Doty of Searcy, Kirsten Druckenmiller of Beebe, and Sally Garringer of Lonoke. This group won second place and the innovation award in ASU’s business plan competition during the fall semester.

The students started working on the plan last fall under the supervision of Mr. Marvin Jones and are enrolled in the special section of the Entrepreneurship Online course this semester.

Additionally, ARAqua Farms tied for the Catalyst Innovation Award. Catalyst, a program of the ASU Research and Development Institute, offers business services, executive office suites and conference space, and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to new and growing science and innovation based ventures.

Catalyst seeks and serves as a hub for interactions between ASU and the regional business community in order to encourage collaborative innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization between the private and public sectors.

“Students need to develop business skills to integrate what they have learned in their prior course work and put their knowledge in practice,” said Dr. Erik Chang, assistant professor of management and director of the ASU business plan competition.  “Particularly, I make them aware that business plans are used everywhere, from individuals willing to start a business to large corporations that need to expand or explore new markets.”

Dr. Chang also said that students can use this experience in their portfolio of class work and can be shown to a prospective employer.

The Donald W. Reynolds 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. This competition is aimed at simulating the real-world process of entrepreneurs creating a business plan to soliciting start-up funds from potential investors. Students involved in this competition gain access to networks of successful entrepreneurs, lenders and investors, team building opportunities, business planning skills, and media exposure.

With one of the largest cash prize pools in America, the Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup business plan competition encourages students attending any Arkansas two or four year college or university to act on their ideas and talents in order to produce tomorrow's businesses. Since the competition was started in 2001, more than 2,000 students representing 24 Arkansas colleges and universities have participated. The students and their faculty advisors have received over $1,000,000 in prize money.

Business Plan

ARAqua Farms Team: (from left) Kirsten Druckenmiller of Beebe, Sally Garringer of Lonoke, Sarah Doty of Searcy and Gail Hudson, department chair of Management and Marketing and professor of Marketing at ASU