Eight teams of graduate students in the College of Business MBA program at The University of Southern Mississippi will vie for prize money in the fourth annual Golden Eagle Challenge Business Plan Competition at the Thad Cochran Center on Friday, Dec. 5.
Launched in 2005, the event was the state’s first collegiate business plan competition.
Dr. Jennifer Sequeira, a Southern Miss assistant professor of management and director of the competition said, “The teams have worked hard and have experienced many of the aspects of business start-up, from initial idea generation to the competition where they share their business plans and seek funding and potential commercialization. The students have experienced hardships, sacrifices and setbacks just as entrepreneurs do.”
Spending the majority of the semester preparing for the competition, these teams develop product and service ideas, company branding and business plans. The plans are then presented to a panel of mock investors who judge the plans based on a number of criteria.
The preliminary rounds begin at 9 a.m. The event will conclude with a finalists’ round at 2 p.m. Following the announcement and presentation of the winners, a reception will be held at 3:30 p.m. The public is invited to the final round and will be held in the Thad Cochran Center, Ballroom 1.
A sampling of this year’s teams include Green Screen, which will tout an eco-friendly umbrella, Simple Kitchen, which will promote the Kitchen Kiosk, an LCD touch-screen monitor designed for the kitchen to help make cooking more convenient and effective and The Velveteen Rut, a plan to provide social activities to preteens and teenagers.
The panel of judges is composed of executives from local and national businesses. Each will rate the teams with numerical scores in three areas – the written business plan, the presentation and the viability of the company. The goal of the panel is to reach a consensus on the company that represents the best investment opportunity.
Judges include Todd Gregory, group vice president of the Cintas Corporation in Baton Rouge; Richard “Ric” L. Williams Jr., community bank president for BancorpSouth in Gulfport; John Polk, president and CEO of Polk’s Meat Products in Magee; Dr. Beverly Dale, retired director of business development of Roche Molecular Systems Inc. in California; Abe Hudson , entrepreneur and author; Eric W. Hoffman, chief operating officer of Hoffman Media, LLC, in Birmingham. Three of the judges, Dale, Polk and Hudson are Southern Miss alumni.
This year’s competition is sponsored in part by Noetic Technologies Inc. of Hattiesburg.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.