Archive for ‘City of Abilene’

It is That Time of Year: Springboard!

by   |  02.26.14  |  COBA Events, City of Abilene, Current Students, Entrepreneurship, Griggs Center, Springboard

springboard

The highly anticipated event we have all been waiting for is just around the corner! Registration for the seventh annual Springboard Ideas challenge is now open and ready to start accepting applicants for 2014. Springboard is a business plan competition that takes place each year through the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy. Contestants vary, including some who have ideas and are seeking to start a business and others who have already established small businesses. The cash prizes come from several local sponsors. This year, certain phases of the competition have changed. The initial application process has been revamped to make each transition phase flow more smoothly for applicants.

The competition includes three different divisions: the community-growth division, the community-small business division, and the college division. The first, second, and third place winners in each division will receive cash prizes. For the college division, the first place winner will receive $7,500, the second place winner will receive $3,000, and the third place winner will receive $1,000. In the community-growth division, the first place winner will receive $15,000, the second place winner will receive $5,000, and the third place winner will receive $1,000. For the community-small business, the first place winner will receive $5,000, the second place winner will receive $3,000, and the third place winner will receive $1,000. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and be a permanent resident of one of the qualifying 19 counties surrounding the Abilene area.

To enter the competition, applicants must initially complete an online application and pay the registration fee. The online application deadline is 5 P.M. on March 7th. Once the judging panel has advanced chosen contestants on to the next phase of the competition, a mini-business plan must be submitted. The business plan should address the fundamental issues of interest to potential investors. This document should highlight the most important and interesting points of the business, which should give potential investors a general understanding of why this venture would succeed. Contestants who advance to the next phase of the competition qualify as finalists and must prepare a presentation for a live panel of judges. The exact date, time, and location will vary by division but will take place during the week of April 6-12, 2014. Participants will be given 10 minutes to present their idea to the judges and will then be subject to 10-15 minutes of Q&A from the judges.The final phase of the competition will be the awards dinner, which will take place on April 15th. All finalists will display their ideas as part of an exhibit hall before the dinner, and then the winners of each division will be announced during the dinner. This year, Stuart Crum, President for Bridgestone Retail Operations, will be speaking at the awards ceremony.

Students have represented COBA well in the past Springboard competitions. Typically, around 30-4 students from around campus enter the competition each year. Last year, senior Luke Luttrell won first place in the college division with his Right Route idea. Right Route is a mobile app similar to Google Maps but offers more route options, optimizing the fastest route between as many desired destinations. Dr. Brent Reeves and Dr. Brian Burton were two professors that helped Luke develop his idea for the app. Luke believes that COBA was absolutely fundamental to winning Springboard. He credits his success to the help of such great professors in COBA, reiterating how involved and willing they were to reach out and help him on his journey to success. Luke also praises the competition in regards to the process. He says, “Springboard gives students the opportunity to present an idea to a panel of investors with entrepreneurial experience, resulting in great feedback on the idea and business model.” Luke has learned to always seek entrepreneurial opportunities and encourages anyone with even the smallest idea to enter the competition. Springboard is a great opportunity to grow one’s entrepreneurial skills and gain relevant experience through a high value process and interaction with professional entrepreneurs.

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“The Springboard Ideas Challenge is a great opportunity for any student who is interested in entrepreneurial pursuits. It offers an unbelievable experience because it forces students to turn a simple idea into a fully functioning business model,” says Luke Luttrell, senior COBA student and winner of the 2013 Springboard Challenge.

 

Marketing class projects benefit children in Abilene and abroad

by   |  12.01.11  |  City of Abilene, College Decisions, Current Students, Faith Infusion

Students in Dr. Wright’s Creativity in the Marketplace (Marketing 440) class have been given a unique opportunity: to select a non-profit and use their marketing skills to solve a specific problem facing that non-profit. We had an opportunity to chat with the group leaders from two different groups to find out more about their non-profit and what they are doing to help.

Meet Corbin. He’s a senior marketing major from Coppell.

Corbin (he's the one jumping). This is in Europe when he went with ACU's Study Abroad for the semester.

His group is partnering with World’s Backyard, a non-profit started and based in Abilene. We asked him to share about their work. He’s what he told us:

1) Tell us a little about the details of the project:
The project was based on creatively helping a certain non profit overcome an obstacle they were facing. This involved figuring out the need these guys needed met most and doing whatever we thought would help the most. For my group it was helping the World’s Backyard (started by Brayden and Jason Boone), which is a simple organization that ministers to refugee children throughout Abilene.
2) How’d your group select your particular non-profit group?
Our group chose this non-profit because Brayden is one of my best friends and we had the opportunity to see tangible results from our help. (I’m also in involved with it so it made client contact easy.)
3) Tell us a little about your non-profit (what they do, how the help others) and how is your group helping them?
Essentially TWB links college students with various apartment complexes around Abilene that house foreign refugee children. Once a week they go and pick up these kids to take them to play soccer and other sports and games at Madison Middle School. The need they had was simply a matter of getting the name of their organization out there and telling people what they were about. We were able to do a small marketing campaign around campus and the apartment complexes for an event they hosted the weekend before Thanksgiving (it was actually a pushcart derby!)

Corbin and a new friend

 

4) What are you learning about business through this project? How are your business skills being sharpened and refined?
I’m learning that marketing is something that must be tailored to each individual demographic (i.e.: we had to make advertisements in 4 different languages to reach all the families!) and also it is alot more motivating and rewarding to partner with people you care about on a deep personal level – I’m learning how to take that motivation into situations where I might not know the client as well and still be excited about the project and think creatively. This class has prepared me for that by discussing the necessity of creativity in a sometimes boring and straight laced professional world.
***
Next, meet Ashley. She’s a senior finance major from Hallsville.

Ashley (far right). Pictured with COBA's SIFE team.

 

Ashley’s team is working with Operation Christmas Child, a seasonal project of Samaritan’s Purse. Here’s what she said about their non-profit and their project: 
1) Tell us a little about the details of the project:
The assignment was to find a non profit and see if they needed help in any aspects of their business that we could solve using marketing. We then had to put that task in motion, or at least get the ball rolling. Ideally, we’d be able to come up with a solution to their marketing related problem, take the steps needed to accomplish it, and see results… All before the semester ended (which was about 5 weeks time).
2) How’d your group select your particular non-profit group?
We brainstormed numerous local nonprofits that we could easily get in touch with; then we focused on the actuality of us being able to do a real and effective job for them. We tried reaching out to one organization we thought might fit those criteria, but there was conflict in scheduling an initial meeting with them. This is when GW Shaw mentioned a project his church does every year and we decided to turn it into a marketing venture.

Operation Christmas Child table. The group set up in the Campus Center to promote this non-proft and to ask students to get involve and help out.

 

3) Tell us a little about your non-profit (what they do, how the help others) and how is your group helping them?
Operation Christmas Child is a national project hosted by Samaritan’s Purse. Their objective is to provide a box of small presents and necessities for underprivileged children in the Philippines. They are able to do this through a mass amount of volunteers (primarily churches) who fill up shoe boxes and drop them off at Samaritan Purse locations. GW was the only one in our group who had even heard about this project, so it was clear that we should bring awareness about it on campus through advertising and allowing students to get involved.
What we did: bought 100 foldable boxes from the website at a small cost. We set up an appropriately decorated table in the campus center with the boxes on them, in hopes that people would take them, fill them, and drop them back off at the table. We also put a big sign in the campus center, hung flyers in the dorms, made a my.acu login advertisement, made a slide for the chapel slideshow, and showed a one minute video during chapel on the day we set the table up.
We had a time span of two weeks for people to pick up, fill, and drop off the boxes. We had hoped for a return of 10 boxes, but we were pleasantly surprised when after exactly 7 days all of the boxes were gone. When it came time to pick up the boxes, there were a little over 20 full boxes which was double what we were expecting. So this project turned out to be a great success for the short amount of time we had.

Chapel slide promoting table that was set up in the Campus Center

 

4) What are you learning about business through this project? How are your business skills being sharpened and refined?
I used to dread doing group projects; but in most of my upper level classes, group work has been enjoyable. I’ve learned to trust and lean on everyone by delegating the right tasks to the right people. It’s amazing to see how much more you can accomplish through correctly allocating tasks. Surpassing our project goal wasn’t a bad feeling either.
We are proud of these student groups who are learning how to use business to serve and grateful for the good work they are doing to help others. We are blessed with a faculty who excel at teaching business skills and who are even more committed to helping our students understand how they can use their knowledge and skills to make a difference in someone’s life.

SIFE students and two business profs help teach kids about money

by   |  09.04.11  |  COBA Events, City of Abilene, College Decisions, Current Students

ACU’s chapter of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE – a national organization formed by Sam Walton) does several projects with and for the community, using their business skills and knowledge to serve others. One project they do each year is with the elementary students over at Abilene Christian Schools. They set up a ‘little town’ in their school gym, with a bank, retail stores, a grocery store among others. Each student has a chance to earn a specific amount of money, and then they can turn around and either spend the money or save it at the bank – all under the guidance and teaching of our SIFE students and two business professors, Dr. Jinkerson and Dr. Vardiman.

The Abilene Reporter News recently did a story on teaching kids the value of money, and featured our SIFE team and professors. Click here for the full story. We’re proud of  Dr. Jinkerson and Dr. Vardiman and the good work they are doing with our students!

 

Announcing: The Springboard Accelerator

by   |  08.16.11  |  City of Abilene, College Decisions, Current Students, Entrepreneurship, Griggs Center, Springboard

Springboard Accelerator

We are thrilled to announce the official opening of our Springboard Accelerator, a part of the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy. The Accelerator, located in the eHub at the Moore House (across the street from Nelson Hall), was created to provide office space, mentoring, support, networking and basically everything a student created business could ever need.

If you are a current student interested in applying for space, or know of a student that would be interested in learning more about the Accelerator, the eHub or the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy, please click here.

Springboard Ideas Challenge Awards Dinner

by   |  04.14.11  |  COBA Events, City of Abilene, Current Students, Entrepreneurship, Griggs Center, Special Speakers, Springboard

Our fourth annual Springboard Ideas Challenge Awards Dinner was another successful, educational and fun event here on campus. As guests gathered in Hunter Welcome Center, they could mingle through the many displays of the Ideas Challenge finalists, learning more about their business plans and ideas. And in some cases, even tasting the finalists’ business idea. 

During the meal, we heard more about the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy from the Director of the Center, Dr. Jim Litton, as well as COBA dean, Dr. Rick Lytle.

Dr. Rick Lytle discussing the Griggs Center

Special guests, Dr. and Mrs. Jack Griggs

To be sure, the point of the awards dinner is to announce the winners of the small business plan competition. But the focus of the entire event and evening is to encourage entrepreneurship – to encourage the entrepreneurs, as well as to encourage the wider community that will support these businesses. To speak further about the topic of entrepreneurship and community, ACU and the College of Business Administration was thrilled to bring in Jessica Jackley, co-founder of KIVA.org and most recently, founder of  ProFounder.com.

Special Guest Speaker Jessica Jackley

Jackley shared her experiences in South Africa that lead her to start KIVA

Jackley’s engaging, down-to-earth, completely authentic style had the audience laughing at different times and moved to tears at others. Here’s a nice recap of what she shared from the Abilene Reporter-News.

Audience members had the opportunity to text Jackley questions at the conclusion of her talk

After Jackley shared about her experiences, Dr. Litton announced the winners of the mini-business plan competition. Here is the breakdown of the winners in each catagory:

Community Post-Revenue

Honorable Mention ($1000 cash prize):

  • Enchilada Express – Chris Norton, www.enchiladaexpress.com
  • Urban Male Hair and Grooming – Lindsey Soria, http://urbanmalesalon.com
  • Dream Spectrum Design – Charles Caddell, www.dreamspectrum.com

2nd Place ($3000 cash prize):

  • Advantage Cubed – Coty Woolf

1st Place ($7500 cash prize):

  • Indivijual Custom Eyeware – Randy Barnett, www.indivijual.com

Community Pre-Revenue

Honorable Mention ($1000 cash prize):

  • Cordell’s – Jason Beard, Joy Beard
  • XYZ Eyewear – Dr. Troy Carter, Tyler Lewis

2nd Place ($3000 cash prize):

  • Knox City Hometown Variety – Sheri Baty, Ezekial Duke, Marla Hawkins, Steve Pepper

1st Place ($7500 cash prize):

  • Landman.IO – Chad Hutchins

Students

Honorable Mention ($1000 cash prize):

  • Walk Thru – Joshua Archer, Chase Cobern, Justin Durko
  • Super TwinBEAR – David Galaz, Chen Gong, Patrick Yan
  • Droppage.com – Chas Quisenberry
  • The Cellular Trap – Tyler Nolan, John Stevens, Derek Zimmerman

2nd place ($3000 cash prize):

  • iMedical Online – Clayton Selby, Seth Thomas

1st place ($7500 cash prize):

  • ScholarSphere – Asa Kusuma, Tim Johnston

Social Entrepreneurship Award ($2500 cash prize):

  • Suffer Not the Children – Christina Batten, Kevin Batten

Most Fundable Award ($7500 cash prize):

  • Landman.IO – Chad Hutchins

Congratulations to all of our winners! In addition to the cash prizes, winners will also have the opportunity to receive in-kind prizes like office space, equipment and furniture. The cash and in-kind prizes were provided by the following sponsors:

Bronze Sponsors

  • ACU Campus Bookstore
  • Morris&Mitchell
  • Rosas Cafe
  • Shelton Family Foundation
  • Women for ACU

Silver Sponsors

  • Abilene Reporter News
  • American State Bank
  • First Financial Bank
  • Genesis Network Solutions
  • McMurry University
  • Raindance Capital
  • Senter, Realtors

Gold Sponsors

  • Development Corporation of Abilene
  • Dian Graves Owen Foundation
  • Dodge Jones Foundation
  • Jack and Ann Griggs
  • Texas Tech Small Business Development Center
  • Kenny and Sharon Wilson

Platinum Sponsors

  • ACU’s College of Business Administration
  • Bixby Enterprises and Mark Horn Enterprises

And special Program Partner, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas.

We are grateful for the community of support we received in order to host this competition and awards dinner. Our events would not have been possible without the partnership of our sponsors, judges, contestants, COBA faculty, ACU staff and specifically, Dr. Jim Litton. If you are interested in learning more about our entrepreneurship program in COBA or how you can participate in next year’s Ideas Challenge, please email us at  coba@acu.edu.

Downtown Abilene featured in April’s Texas Monthly

by   |  03.25.11  |  City of Abilene, College Decisions, Current Students

ACU has been proud to call Abilene home for over 100 years. True, Abilene may not have all of the entertainment, shopping or recreational options that bigger cities might have – but we like to think that Abilene has a bit more charm, character and hospitality than some of the bigger sister cities.

April’s issue of Texas Monthly features the restaurants and shops of downtown Abilene, and even has Tom Perini – of Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap – on the cover. Stan Smith (ACU Class of 1975) is the Events Manager at Perini’s. I called Perini’s to see if I could interview him and ask him a few questions – but he’s currently in New York, preparing for and catering a few top secret events at the moment.

Photo courtesy of www.texasmonthly.com

Check out the piece about downtown Abilene here.

And click on over to see a sneak peek of the April issue here.

What was or is your favorite place to eat in Abilene? And if you’re planning a campus visit sometime soon, to see your current student or to bring your prospective student, be sure to check out some of these delicious dining establishments.