Lindsey Fowler, a junior business administration/finance, political science and history major, won first place in Ouachita Baptist University’s 2012 Business Plan Competition on Dec. 4 with her plan for TrustedWills.com.
Fowler, an Arkadelphia native, developed her plan from the idea that new parents often want a quick and easy way to create a viable will. With just a few questions, TrustedWills.com would create a legitimate will for people who want the reassurance and peace of mind that having a last will and testament provides.
“This business plan competition has taught me so much that I can apply to my future educational and career goal,” Fowler said. “Researching for the business plan also gave me a deeper understanding of many legal terms and procedures that will give me a solid foundation as I enter law school.”
Having already participated in this competition with a group her freshman year, Fowler said she realized that “all of the information we had been learning in our classes really was relevant to the business plan. … It made class so much more meaningful to see it applied to a real-world business idea.”
“We do hope it’s more than just an academic exercise,” said Bryan McKinney, dean of the Frank D. Hickingbotham School of Business. “We’re taking an idea and turning it into a tangible document that can be presented to others and will demonstrate the need and the likelihood that an idea could turn into a functional business.”
McKinney was Fowler’s faculty advisor for the competition. Ouachita alumnus Dr. Terry Sergeant, a computer science professor at Hardin Simmons University, also partnered with Fowler to develop the concept for TrustedWills.com.
The evaluation guidelines for the 2012 OBU Business Plan Competition stated, “All judges ultimately consider the entire business concept, looking at overall feasibility, combined with significant capital gains potential, attractive investment possibilities and actual implementation.” Student competitors had to demonstrate to the six judges who are businessmen and businesswomen themselves that their ideas were not only possible on paper, but profitable in practice.
The first place prize for the Business Plan Competition was $4,000. “Because of the example of many ‘Tigers for Life’ before me,” Fowler said, “I plan on giving back and donating part of the winnings to the Annual Fund, as this is one of Ouachita’s greatest needs. I plan on using what is left to go on the Campus Ministries South Africa mission trip this summer.”
The second place business plan that earned $3,000 in prize money, called eScout, was created by Connor Burke, a senior accounting and business administration/finance major from Gilbert, Ariz.; Jason Cantwell, a junior kinesiology and fitness major from Frisco, Texas; and Sarah McKimmey, a senior history major from Heath, Texas.
The third place winners were Jared Carlin, a senior accounting and business administration/finance major from Lubbock, Texas, and Rizvan Ceka, a junior business administration/management and finance major from Coppell, Texas. Their business proposal, entitled Stuffed Burritos, was awarded $2,000.
Other participants included: The Espresso Exchange by Brittney Jones, a senior business administration and finance major from Texarkana, Ark.; Judith Brizuela, a senior business administration/finance and psychology major from Cortes, Honduras; Greg Lawrence, a senior business administration/management, marketing and finance major from Saginaw, Texas; and Will Sparks, a senior business administration/management major from Dripping Springs, Texas. One27 was presented by Michelle Perez, a senior business administration/management and political science major from Maracaibo, Venezuela, and Chase Rackley, a senior business administration/management and marketing major from Little Rock, Ark.
“I’m phenomenally proud of the students when I see all the energy they put into their plans and the faculty, who put in so many hours advising students,” McKinney said. “They all work so hard at this.”
The winners of the 2012 OBU Business Plan Competition will go on to compete against Henderson State University’s top plans in the OBU/HSU Business Plan Competition in February. They may also have the opportunity to compete in the statewide Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup at the Little Rock Convention Center for a first place prize of $25,000.
For more information, contact Bryan McKinney at email@example.com or (870) 245-5513.
By Rachel Gregory