A device to improve safety and efficiency of cardiovascular procedures, creating flour made from crickets for improved health benefits, service software to alleviate the problem of employee theft, uses of silica to track water absorption in waders, and enabling Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) technology to monitor corrosion in new and aging civil structures such as bridges were the entrepreneurial ideas that rose to the top of all other entries into the 19th annual Arkansas Governor’s Cup Competition, which concluded today with an awards luncheon in Little Rock.
These and other winning teams took home a share of the competition’s $154,000 cash prize pool, one of the largest in the nation on the business plan competition circuit. The Governor’s Cup’s title sponsor is Delta Plastics of Little Rock. The competition is managed by Arkansas Capital Corporation.
Nearly 800 guests were on hand at the luncheon and via live stream coverage. Remarks were given by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Dhu Thompson, owner and chairman of Delta Plastics.
The awards presented at today’s luncheon are:
Walton Family Foundation Graduate Division
First Place – Fintruth, University of Arkansas – $25,000
Second Place – ScreenBux, University of Arkansas – $15,000
Third Place – CorroSense, University of Arkansas – $10,000
Winrock Automotive Undergraduate Division
First Place – Vascugenix, University of Arkansas Little Rock – $25,000
Second Place – XTendon, Harding University – $15,000
Third Place – Bone Dri, Ouachita Baptist University – $10,000
The faculty adviser for the six teams was also awarded $2,000 each.
Arkansas Farm Bureau Agriculture Awards
First Place – Lucky Cricket Snack Factory, Arkansas State University – $5,000
Second Place – Tank’s Treats, Arkansas State University – $3,000
Innovate Arkansas Innovation Innovation Awards
Graduate Winner – CorroSense, University of Arkansas – $5,000
Undergraduate Winner – Vascugenix, University of Arkansas Little Rock – $5,000
An annual highlight of the Governor’s Cup are live elevator pitches from each of the six graduate and six undergraduate division finalists. The winner for each division was chosen by the audience via text. Cole Jester of Bone Dri and Sandra Bagley of CorroSense each won another $2,000 in cash for their winning pitches.
Arkansas Capital Corporation (ACC) has managed the Governor’s Cup since the first competition in 2001. More than 2,700 students have competed. The competition does not require teams to launch their businesses. The teams are rewarded for the rigorous and real-world experience they gain as competitors. They are also exposed to the state’s rich entrepreneurial history and discover the opportunities Arkansas has to offer to entrepreneurs who want to start businesses in the state. Whether launching new businesses or working in corporate or professional settings, team members cite the Governor’s Cup as having a significant and positive impact in their professional development and their careers beyond college.
“Many, probably even most, business plan competitions around the country measure their success in terms of the number of successful businesses that emerge from their competitions, said Rush Deacon, CEO of ACC. “While we love to hear those stories linked to the Governor’s Cup, we instead count as the measure of our success the impact the competition has had on entrepreneurial education in Arkansas’s colleges and universities,” Deacon said.
Deacon praised the teams’ academic sponsors and other faculty and administrators who assisted them through the stages of the competition. “They have done a marvelous job of using this Governor’s Cup to steer their students into some truly remarkable work.”