Millikin University - Decatur, IL
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First-year business undergraduates in Millikin University's Tabor School of Business were given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas during the 2014 Freshman Business Plan Competition. The competition was held during Millikin's Celebrations of Scholarship on April 25 in ADM-Scovill Hall. The business plan competition is the culmination of Millikin's Introduction to Business course.

The course is designed to provide first-year undergrads with a basic understanding of business. The course covers the personal and professional development of various business functions concluding with a team-designed written business plan. The business plan outlines a proposal to operate an enterprise of their choice.

The first business presentation of the competition was called EnerGym, a gym that will incorporate revolutionary "green" technology, as well as provide an organic dietary alternative for its members. By joining EnerGym, an individual will become part of a greater good that will not only improve their personal health, but the health of the environment as well. The business was created by students Emilee Gerk, a mathematics actuarial science major from Tinley Park, Ill., and Jake Kotopka, an accounting major from Bolingbrook, Ill.

The second business featured in the competition was called Sporganics. Sporganics is a restaurant focused on a sports-minded population with the sensitivity for healthy foods and lifestyle. The presentation was led by students LeRyan Wolfe, a sociology major from Chicago, Ill., Frank Jones, a marketing major from Bartlett, Tenn., and Jocelyn Hernandez, an international business major from Des Plaines, Ill.

The third business presentation of the competition was called Ivory Bridal Boutique, a wedding dress rental, retail and online store designed to make searching for a wedding dress fashionable, affordable, and painless. The presentation was made by students Kiara Smail, an accounting major from Mt. Zion, Ill., and Katie Massey, a business major from Decatur, Ill.

Ivory Bridal Boutique was chosen the winner of the 2014 Freshman Business Plan Competition. As a result of the votes, the team receives scholarships to travel abroad on a Tabor international immersion trip. The trip will provide an opportunity for the students to learn about and experience international business.

"We were very surprised to have won the competition, but felt honored," said Kiara Smail. "All three of the presentations were so well-thought-out and everyone worked so hard on them all year. We really had to focus on trying to get the message we wanted Ivory to convey across to the audience. Rather than just focusing on small ideas it was all about the big picture."

Katie Massey added, "Having spent so much time on such a big project last semester through our Introduction to Business course, it was a great honor to have won the competition. With academic success like this so early in my career at Millikin, I can only hope that I will continue to have opportunities to achieve more."

When asked about the learning experience of creating a business, Kiara Smail says, "This experience really opened my eyes to all of the possibilities and opportunities that are available on campus. I've learned to take advantage of opportunities that are presented to me, as a student, through campus activities, and to put extra effort into something I'm passionate about."

2014 Business Creation Competition Winners

The 2014 Business Creation Competition showcases student ideas and concepts for a business. Students compete individually or as a team for cash prizes and seed funding based on the quality, creativity, and innovation of their business.

Students prepare a business model and presentation for a panel of judges made up of outside business professionals. Judges considered the following in their selection process:

- Creativity/Innovation of business idea/concept/model
- Validation of why the business idea will work

The Millikin University Tabor School of Business is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Business Creation Competition.

Mathletics - $1,500
Rachael Coyle, a sophomore entrepreneurship major from Amboy, Ill.

Mathletics is a math-tutoring service/club that will help bring a deeper level of understanding and appreciation for the world of mathematics. It will teach hands-on math skills to its students, training them on how mathematics relates to real-life situations and training them into veritable "mathletes."

Prairie Avenue Soap Company - $900
Anthony Lester, a senior marketing major from Hillsdale, Ill.

A lye-free bar soap company.

Looper 314 - $500
Matthew Hamrick, a senior information systems major from Glenarm, Ill.

The Looper 314 is a guitar looping pedal that utilizes a raspberry pi microcomputer.

BrightBerry - $100
Sasha Roberts, a senior information systems major from Decatur, Ill.

BrightBerry is a light therapy box intended for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The competition judging panel included Prescott Paulin, international research consultant at 300 Below Inc., Ray Fields, owner of Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake, and Bridget Hogan, attorney with Samuels, Miller, Schroeder, Jackson & Sly, LLP.

Some winners may be invited to apply for additional funds as well as a space in Millikin's student business incubator, The Hub. A variety of businesses have been presented in past competitions including recording companies, theatre companies, a micro-investment firm, a graphic design company, restaurants, a software development company, and more.

For more information about the annual Freshman Business Plan and Business Creation Competitions, visit
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL