University of Arkansas students win business plan competition at TCU

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    A plan to decrease human error in areas of medical testing won the fourth annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition.

    Students from the University of Arkansas won the grand prize of $25,000 this past weekend. The team of three pitched a plan that limits contamination and mix-ups in pathology labs when conducting biopsies.

    The Neeley School of Business hosted 23 American and 5 international universities at the weekend competition. The key to the competition was for plans to incorporate values, ethics and service into a for-profit business model, according to the Neeley School website.

    Two real estate entrepreneurs, Nancy Richards and Lisa Barrentine, created the competition to give young entrepreneurs the chance to carry out their business plans that can positively impact the society, said Elaine Cole, the Neeley School public relations manager.

    “This has been really exciting and we got the opportunity to show the world our business plan,” said Mariano Azuela, entrepreneurship major at Monterrey Institute of Technology.

    To start the competition off, the universities were grouped into five flights to compete simultaneously Friday morning in the Brown-Lupton University Union ballroom.

    The top team from each flight advanced to the final competition while the second place teams went on to compete against one another in a lightning round Friday afternoon.

    Two teams from the lightning round were picked to advance to the final competition.

    “The judges asked tougher questions the first round but we were able to take that and make some changes for the final round,” said Chris Waldo, junior entrepreneurial management and business information systems major at TCU.

    This year, another component was added to give each university the opportunity to win a prize.

    Each of the non-finalist teams were allowed to choose one representative to compete in the elevator pitch round which took place at the same time as the final competition Saturday morning.

    “I got to participate in the elevator pitch and it was an eye opening experience,” said Kevin Dang, sophomore biology major at the University of Texas at Dallas.

    The panel of judges consisted of business professional leaders such as Pat Bolin, the CEO of Eagle Oil and Gas Company.

    “We saw a lot of passion in these students,” Bolin said. “Some of these ventures will be very successful.”

    The winners were announced during the awards dinner held Saturday night at the Fort Worth Hilton Hotel.

    A total of 12 prizes, $70,000, were awarded.

    Grand prize winners ($25,000): University of Arkansas

    Second place ($15,000): Appalachian State University

    Third place ($10,000) and recipients of the Quicksilver Resources Energy Independence award ($5,000): University of Houston

    Honorable Mentions ($2,500): George Washington University, Samford University, Monterrey Institute of Technology, and Texas Christian University

    First place for elevator pitch ($1,000): University of Stratchclyde

    Second place for elevator pitch ($500): Ball State University

    Third place for elevator pitch ($250): Southern Methodist University

    Founders Award ($5,000): University of North Texas