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Finalists for Business Plan Competition Announced


JONESBORO – Finalists for the fall 2015 A-State Business Plan competition, hosted by Arkansas State University’s College of Business, were announced.
In the business plan category, six teams will deliver oral presentations to judges on Thursday, Nov. 12, at the executive board room of the Delta Center for Economic Development, 319 University Loop Circle. The teams are Comfort4Me; FindMe; Infant Savers; SafeRider; Super Critical Oil; and Trucking Alone. The business plan finalists will compete for total monetary prizes of $3,000.
In the freshman category, 10 proposals were invited to record video elevator pitches of 90 seconds in the last week of October. In addition to the finalist teams, four additional teams—Brushes and Beauty, Hauler, HydraFresh and Proclivity—will participate in the live elevator pitch after the oral presentations. Those will be judged online to compete for total monetary prizes of $1,600. 
“I want to congratulate all of the finalists in our 2015 A-State Business Plan Competition,” said Dr. Shane Hunt, dean of the College of Business. “The overall quality of the proposals this year was the best we have ever had in the competition and that is a testament to the great work of our faculty who are passionate about developing future entrepreneurs and business leaders.  Congratulations to all of the students who participated and best of luck to the finalists.”
The competition included 40 freshman proposals and 11 business plans with 185 participants coming from four different colleges. A panel of 35 judges located in Jonesboro and other parts of the world engaged in the judging process over a period of two weeks. Judges included A-State alumni, university professors, executives and entrepreneurs located in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Pakistan, Germany and Austria.
“More than judging and selecting, our judges were very helpful on their comments and feedback given to the participants,” said Dr. Erick Chang, associate professor of management and competition organizer. “This is one of the major distinctions in our business plan competition because of the involvement and commitment that our judges have toward the participants. Some judges even provide ideas for really enhancing and making students to think outside of the box so their plans can become a reality in the near future.”
The panel of judges includes Brandon French, an A-State alumnus and entrepreneur; Bobby Larimer from Textbook Brokers; Josh Brown, 2015 College of Business Distinguished Alumnus and executive broker of Haag Brown Commercial Real Estate and Development; Blake Johnson, vice-president of Evolve Bank & Trust; and Daniel Robinson, community president of Simmons Bank.  Teams will deliver a 10-minute oral presentation, enter into a question round from the judges and receive further feedback about improving their business plans.
Representatives from Arkansas Capital Co. are sponsoring a lunch event following the presentations. In addition, they will invite the teams to compete in the 2016 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup, the state-level business plan competition where A-State is the current winner of the graduate division after winning all of the categories—Business Plan, Innovation, Agriculture, and Elevator Pitch—last April.
Joshua Baker, the leader of Governor’s Cup winner Agricultural Innovations, also sent encouraging remarks to the finalists, “Rely on the education you received at A-State and it will carry you as far as you want to go.”
“This is our final goal,” concluded Chang. “We can compete in the Governor’s Cup and win because our students are the ones originating the idea. This is really what we want at A-State and that is the purpose of being an entrepreneurship educator—when a student has the creativity to develop an idea and formalize it into a business plan. Our job becomes easier as we provide the tools to make them succeed.”


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