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Three A-State Business Plan Teams Advance To Governor’s Cup Finals


JONESBORO — Three student teams from Arkansas State University’s College of Business have advanced to the final round of the 2015 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup business plan competition.

The teams, announced by Sam Walls, chief operating officer and president of Arkansas Capital Corporation Thursday afternoon, include Agricultural Innovations, Saf-Tech and Grand Prairie Husk. These teams are a part of the six teams from Arkansas State originally competing against 41 other business plans submitted by 11 universities throughout the state.

Oral presentations by the teams will be delivered Thursday and Friday, April 2-3, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Little Rock. Both Agricultural Innovations and Saf-Tech have each won $1,000 for becoming finalists in the graduate division. They will compete against four teams from University of Arkansas.

The Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup is an annual business plan competition that will be distributing $154,000 in cash to winners. The announcement of the winners is during the awards luncheon April 22. The top two teams for the graduate division will have the chance to compete in the tri-state competition in Las Vegas against the winners of the Oklahoma and Nevada state-level competitions.

Agricultural Innovations is a business that is developing WellsVision, an automated irrigation system. The group became a finalist in the four categories of graduate division, innovation award, agriculture award, and elevator pitch. The team is comprised of four management majors including Joshua Baker, Justin Bagley, Frank Kelley and Dirk Tanner and a master of science in engineering student, Kenneth Rains.

Saf-Tech, a technology based company, will focus on the Guardian, a device that will block texting and phone calls while driving. The team is comprised of two recent management graduates, Dustin Lavender and Lillian Bryant, and two management majors, Amanda Barton-Smith and Pam English. They became finalists in three categories: graduate division, innovation and elevator pitch.

Grand Prairie Husk is a manufacturer and producer of a smokeless tobacco alternative made with re-purposed rice husk that became a finalist in the agriculture award category. The team includes one management major, Lindsey Cole, and two agribusiness majors, Alex Reid and Seth Moore.

The three A-State teams have a prior history of winning competition as Agricultural Innovations and Saf-Tech took first and second place in the 2014 A-State business plan competition. Grand Prairie Husk won the innovation award.

Dr. Erick Chang, associate professor of management at A-State, is the advisor for Agricultural Innovations and co-advises two other teams. Marvin Jones of Arkansas State University-Beebe is the faculty advisor for Saf-Tech and Grand Prairie Husk since the teams started working in 2014 at the ASU-Beebe campus.

More information can be found in www.facebook/ENTASU and http://arcapital.com/aeaf/govcup/.

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