Eliza Bishop, a senior in Samford University’s Brock School of Business, won the regional round of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) 2019 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) and will advance to the national competition in Redwood City, California in the nation’s hub for entrepreneurial startups – Silicon Valley.
The regional round of the global competition, hosted by Brock School of Business on Nov. 13, allows students the opportunity to compete against their peers by presenting their business plans to a panel of judges. Regional competitors have a chance to go head-to-head with other winners at the national competition.
Bishop, a marketing and finance major from Spartanburg, South Carolina, presented a synopsis of her entrepreneurial journey and background, featuring pictures from her childhood businesses, then transitioned to a detailed pitch of her newest venture, Paper Eliza. Paper Eliza is a custom fine stationery, wall print and wedding paper shop that Bishop envisioned and founded within the walls of her Vail Hall dorm room during her freshman year at Samford.
During her pitch, Bishop presented analytics and statistics from her business’ website to demonstrate the company’s national reach, growth in revenue, product costs, and total unit and revenue breakdown of individual products. She also touched on goals, challenges and mentors who have advised her throughout her journey.
“The GSEA is not your typical business pitch competition. Seventy percent of the scoring metrics focus on the student as an entrepreneur, while only 30% is on the business,” Birmingham’s competition chair Robert Evans said.
By clinching the regional title, Bishop won $1,200, one-on-one coaching sessions from the organization’s network of entrepreneurs and an all-expense paid trip to compete in the national competition in Silicon Valley.
“Eliza represented our organization’s values very well during her presentation and we are looking forward to sending her to the national competition in Silicon Valley to represent the chapter as our regional winner,” Evans added.
“The GSEA competition was an incredible experience and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of it,” Bishop said. “I am already preparing for the national competition in February and can’t wait.”
Bishop plans to use her prize money on advertising and marketing for Paper Eliza products. She’s also working towards launching a campus representative program for the business in the near future.
Samford had two other student finalists who pitched their businesses in the regional competition – A&J Muscle Movers, represented by senior public administration major Justin Foster from Anniston, Alabama; and Esprit Co, represented by senior Wes Abeln, a marketing and management major from Manchester, Missouri. These businesses, along with Paper Eliza, are part of the Samford Startup business incubator program housed in Cooney Hall.
“We are proud of Eliza for winning the 2019 EO GSEA Birmingham pitch competition and wish her well as she competes in the national competition,” interim dean Chad Carson said. “These external competitions allow our aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their talents and ideas in front of successful entrepreneurs and receive feedback and guidance along the way that helps improve the business and enhance startup success.”EO is the only global network exclusively for entrepreneurs whose mission is to help entrepreneurs grow through peer-to-peer learning, entrepreneurial experiences and events, and connections to expert entrepreneurs world-wide.