Governor’s Cup winners to be announced on April 9

by George Jared ([email protected]) 792 views 

College and high school students may be shuttered from school this spring due to the pandemic, but a select few were still able to compete in the finals of the Governor’s Cup business plan competition.

Fifty students representing 18 teams from eight Arkansas universities made virtual presentations to nearly 30 judges during the final round of the 20th annual Arkansas Governor’s Cup competition. Winners will be announced Thursday, (April 9) during a virtual awards program launching at noon.

The title sponsor of the 2020 Governor’s Cup is Dhu Thompson | Revolution of Little Rock. The Governor’s Cup is presented by Arkansas Capital Corporation of Little Rock. A first, second, and third place winner from the following finalists will be announced during the awards program:

Walton Family Foundation Graduate Division:

CelluDot; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Face-to-Face; University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Ferro Athletico; University of Arkansas; Fayetteville
SYMPER; University of Arkansas at Little Rock
T.I.B.N.; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Simmons Bank Undergraduate Division:

BioPrecision; Harding University, Searcy
Breathables; Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts; Hot Springs
CloudCare; University of Arkansas Little Rock
GenDrive; Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts; Hot Springs
ImmunoSense; Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia
Never Cargo; Arkansas Tech University, Russellville

Innovate Arkansas Innovation Division – Graduate:

CelluDot; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Face-to-Face; University of Arkansas, Little Rock
SYMPER; University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Winrock Automotive Innovation Division – Undergraduate:

BioPrecision; Harding University, Searcy
Fail Safe; Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts; Hot Springs
ImmunoSense; Ouachita Baptist University; Arkadelphia

The distribution of the Governor’s Cup $154,000 cash prize pool includes $25,000 to the winners of the graduate and undergraduate divisions, $15,000 to the second place winners in both divisions, and $10,000 for both third place winners. Faculty advisors for all six winning teams each receive $2,000 in cash. For the Innovation Division, a winning team is chosen in both the graduate and undergraduate divisions. Each team will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

Days after learning the news that their teams were advancing to the final oral presentation rounds of the Governor’s Cup, the student competitors and their universities were hit with the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Many team members were faced with the possibility that they may not be able to get home if they didn’t return immediately. Despite these circumstances, oral presentations were held as scheduled to decide the finalists.

Twenty-nine live presentations were made via Zoom Meetings by teams to panels of judges on March 19 and 20. Team members joined in from multiple locations, including Central and South America, Europe, and Africa; as well as from Arkansas and elsewhere around the country.

The virtual awards program will be emceed by Mike Preston, cabinet secretary of the Arkansas Department of Commerce, and Anne Preston, a television news anchor. This will be the fifth year the couple has emceed the Governor’s Cup awards presentation.

They will be joined by Thompson and representatives of other major sponsors; the Walton Family Foundation, Simmons Bank, Innovate Arkansas, and Winrock Automotive. Each finalist team will also present a brief video telling viewers about their business ideas.

Arkansas Capital Corporation (ACC) has managed the Governor’s Cup since the first competition in 2001. More than 2,800 Arkansas college and university students have been impacted, submitting nearly 900 business ideas.

The competition does not require teams to launch their businesses; instead, they 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.

“Thanks to videoconferencing technologies and the flexibility of everyone involved in this process, we’ve been able to pull off this competition in the midst of a world turned upside down,” said Rush Deacon, CEO of ACC. “I encourage everyone to log in to the Arkansas Governor’s Cup website at the appointed hour, where you’ll find a link to the live awards presentation.”

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