Published on May 1, 2019 by Morgan Black  
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Samford University’s Brock School of Business and Regions Bank teamed up to present the 11th annual Regions New Venture Challenge business plan competition on Friday, April 26. This year, students across Samford’s campus took advantage of the opportunity and participated in the competition.

Students interested in starting their own business entered the competition for the chance to win start-up capital, gain publicity and receive mentoring to help start their businesses. First, second and third place prizes were available for the Open Division valued at $7,500, $5,000 and $2,500, respectively. In the BUSA 100 Division, open to students currently enrolled in the World of Business course, first place received $2,500, while second and third placed received $1,500 and $1,000 respectively.

The Open Division was won by Podcasting Network and its founder Baylor Cook, a senior journalism and mass communication major from Brentwood, Tennessee. Podcasting Network offers podcast content from notable political and culture influencing voices. 

“This money means more than anything because it quite literally funds my whole first year of operations,” Cook said.

As a nonbusiness major, Cook mentioned that he is grateful for his fellow students in Brock School of Business that gave him feedback before the competition. 

“I’ve learned quite a bit,” Cook added. “I had three students from Brock School of Business help me prepare for my presentation and they absolutely ripped it apart. Seeing how much business actually goes into a media company was really eye opening and I really appreciate the knowledge I’ve gained here.”

“It is great to see the Regions New Venture Challenge get additional exposure across campus from our friends in journalism and mass communication,” said Chad Carson, associate dean and Brock family chair in entrepreneurship. “Dr. Clay Carey did a great job of getting those students ready for this year’s competition, as evidenced by the success of Baylor Cook’s business plan. We want to continue to grow the event into a truly campus-wide competition and this year has been a big step in that direction.”

The Open Division’s second place winner was Po Boys Lawn Care presented by senior entrepreneurship major Owen Bailey from Woodstock, Georgia. Third place went to Kasey Lee, a senior marketing major from Maitland, Florida. Lee’s business, Sunday Vintage, provides vintage and antique jewelry line for engagements and weddings. 

In the BUSA 100 Division, the winning team was mobile barber service, Barber Bus. Second place was awarded to Loquela, an app designed to help users improve their speaking skills. And, third place went to Free Time, a schedule making app to help connect both socially and professionally for meetings. Team members listed in full below.

Judges for this year’s event included Kim Lee ‘02, founder and chief executive officer of Forge, a collaborative co-working space at the Pizitz building in downtown Birmingham; Stephanie Rebman, managing editor for the Birmingham Business Journal; and Blair Badham, M.B.A. ’09, managing director for Butler Snow Advisory Services and winner of the first Regions New Venture Challenge. 

“The ideas that we saw today are a lot better than the ideas we’ve seen in the past,” Badham said. “Better than my idea, better than anything I could come up with. The level of creativity and the level of presentation and execution has been really good. What the faculty have been able to do to emulate a real-world environment is irreplaceable.”

Open Division Winners
First Place: Podcasting Network, Baylor Cook
Second Place: Po Boys Lawn Care, Owen Bailey
Third Place: Sunday Vintage, Kasey Lee

BUSA 100 Division Winners
First Place: Barber Bus
Students: Haley Batson (freshman, prebusiness, Franklin, TN), Tucker Brown (sophomore, prebusiness, Bowling Green, KY), R.M. English (junior, history, Jackson, TN), Jacob Hankinson (freshman, prebusiness, Greensboro, GA), Danielle Lacy (sophomore, prebusiness, Acworth, GA) and Baylee Vargo (junior, Spanish, Uniontown, OH)

Second Place: Loquela
Students: Lance Rybka (freshman, prebusiness, Peninsula, OH), David Yi (sophomore, prebusiness, Tuscaloosa, AL), Crews Kay (freshman, prebusiness, Zionsville, IN), Cassie Beth Powell (sophomore, sport administration, Hartselle, AL), Aubrey Kirkland (freshman, prebusiness, Roswell, GA), Campbelle Wilkinson (freshman, prebusiness, Dallas, TX) and Will Tucker (freshman, worship and the arts, Atlanta, GA) 

Third Place: Free Time
Students: Andrew Clark (freshman, prebusiness, Newburgh, IN), Haven Voorhees (sophomore, prebusiness, Greensboro, NC), Will Simmons (freshman, sport administration, Homewood, AL), Mason Mitchell (sophomore, prebusiness, Roswell, GA), Garrett Payton (freshman, prebusiness, Suwanee, GA), Catherine Buchanan (sophomore, prebusiness, Fort Worth, TX) and Becca McCoy (sophomore, prebusiness, Huntsville, AL)

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.