Friday, April 18, 2014

Student Business Plan Competitions

Earlier this semester, Belmont undergraduate students competed for a total of $8,000 in a business plan competition.  The first place team, What’s Hubbin’, won $5,000.  Law firm Baker Donelson was one of the sponsors. 

WH

Each competition team was required to provide: (1) an executive summary, (2) a description of the business (including mission and vision), (3) plans for marketing, operating, finances, and growth, and (4) financial statements (historical, if applicable, and projected).  The finalists presented in front of a team of judges, which included local attorneys, investors, and entrepreneurs.  The event also attracted a strong audience of faculty members (myself included), staff, and students. 

Given the evolving legal industry, and the increasing focus on Law & Technology and Law & Entrepreneurship, I could see business plan competitions like this one being a success at law schools (perhaps in coordination with their sister business schools).

One of the three What’s Hubbin’ team members is Makenzie Stokel.  She is also one of my undergraduate business law students.  I asked her if she would mind answering a few, short questions about the competition and about her team's business, which is one of the competition’s businesses that is already up and running.  My questions and her answers are below.

HM: Will you please briefly describe your business, What’s Hubbin’, for our readers?

MS: What's Hubbin’ is a website that promotes music here in Nashville.  We highlight local artists and promote events going on around town.  Our site allows users to "hub" (RSVP) events and artists and have an organized profile of their music preferences.  We also allow users to filter events based on their preferences to ensure that everyone finds something that they will want to do.  We host events around Nashville and will be hosting a day-long festival at the end of this month.  Our goal is to have everything music related all in one place so users don't have trouble finding events or discovering new music. You can find us online at www.whatshubbin.com and on Twitter at @WhatsHubbin

HM: How has participating in the competition helped your business?

MS: Participating in the business plan competition has helped promote our business a great deal.  We have had multiple blogs write about us, and were even named Belmont's hottest start-up by Southern Alpha.  It has really helped us get our name out there with the Belmont community and provided some validation of our business.  

HM:  How has participating in the competition enriched your college experience, especially your experiences in your classes?

MS: I am so glad that the What's Hubbin' team was able to participate in this competition.  The competition definitely helped us with our public speaking skills, which is necessary to have in classes and after college. It also forced us to think quickly when answering the judges’ questions.  When preparing for the questions that we thought they might ask, we had to determine who was best at the different aspects of our business. The competition, and the start-up process part in general, has been more relevant to some classes than others.  Business Law and Foundations of Entrepreneurship are two examples of relevant classes.  Also, as a result of being involved in What’s Hubbin’, I have seen ways to apply what I am learning in classes outside of school. 

HM: Congratulations and best of luck.

MS: Thank you!

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/business_law/2014/04/student-business-plan-competitions.html

Business Associations, Business School, Haskell Murray, Law School, Teaching | Permalink

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