Special to The Sun
There is something for everyone in this year’s Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup collegiate business plan competition. Technologies that track oil and gas inventory, harness energy from sound to power cell phone batteries or provide electricity to the developing world. Apps that connect patients to distant doctors and allow parents to monitor sleeping infants. Agriculture concepts such as hydroponics, aquaculture and new ways to grow grass along with weed whackers to cut it.
You get the picture. The ninth annual Governor’s Cup is a cornucopia of innovation from 48 student teams on 15 campuses across the state. The competition simulates the real-world process of entrepreneurs creating a business plan and making a pitch for start-up funds from potential investors all while competing for more than $150,000 in cash prizes and $15,000 in scholarships provided by the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.
Managed by i2E Inc., the Governor’s Cup is underwritten by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, AT&T, the Greater OKC Chamber, OG&E, Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Phillips66, State Regents for Higher Education and many other local partners.
Nearly 50 local business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs determined the written business plans advancing to the oral presentations, which will be April 12-13 at the Presbyterian Health Foundation Conference Center in Oklahoma City.
Each of the advancing teams is provided comments from the judges to assist in improving their plan and perfecting their presentations. They will give a true investor presentation and answer challenging questions from a panel of potential investors and business development professionals who will determine the first, second and third place winners in each division.
Gov. Mary Fallin will address an audience of nearly 500 and congratulate the winning teams during a gala Awards Dinner on April 18 at the Bricktown Events Center.
New to this year’s competition, the Small Business Division offered students the opportunity to write plans around any business concept, provided the approach was innovative and/or unique. Students wrote plans around coffee shop and restaurant concepts, solar powered appliances, traction weights for rear-wheeled vehicles, environmental consulting and more.
Advancing in the Small Business Division are teams from East Central State University, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Northern Oklahoma College, Oklahoma State University-OKC, Rogers State University, St. Gregory’s University and the University of Central Oklahoma.
The High Growth Division has undergraduate and graduate categories and focuses on businesses with a product or service that shows potential for rapid job and revenue growth. Teams from Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma State University, OSU-Tulsa, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa advanced to the High Growth Division oral presentation rounds.
High Growth Division teams went through an interview process prior to submitting their business plans where they talked about the potential of their concept with a national expert from their field. Teams received valuable feedback that helped in preparing the written plans for judging.
In the history of the Governor’s Cup, 1,200 college students from 31 campuses have competed for more than $1.2 million in cash prizes and $55,000 in Oklahoma Business Roundtable Paulsen Award Scholarships.
FOR A complete list of teams advancing to the Governor’s Cup oral presentation rounds, go to www.okgovcup.org.