The 2021 Arkansas Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan competition winners were announced last week and the University of Arkansas dominated the 21st annual awards.
The winners of the college-level business plan competition took home a total of $100,000 in all-cash awards, contributed by Title Sponsor Dhu Thompson and Revolution Bag of Little Rock. Other major sponsors include the Walton Family Foundation, Innovate Arkansas, and Winrock Automotive.
The $100,000 cash prize pool includes $25,000 to the winner of the High-Growth/Technology Division. The second place team will win $15,000 and the third place team will win $10,000.
The first place winner of the Small Business Division wins $15,000. The second place team will be awarded $10,000 and the third place winner will be awarded $5,000.
The winners of the elevator pitches will each receive $2,000. Faculty advisors for the finalist teams will each receive a $2,500 cash award.
The Governor’s Cup awards featured live pitches from each of the finalists.
This year’s winners include:
High Growth/Technology category
The first place winner was Nivera Solutions. The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville team was led by Angela Gardner. Nivera’s business plan used nanotechnology to create a coat to keep ice off of surfaces to reduce danger.
The second place winner was ReGen Technologies of University of Arkansas. ReGen’s business plan centered around a patent-pending technology to reduce vascular graft and reduce surgery and healthcare costs.
The third place winner was BalanceMark of Harding University. BalanceMark’s plan involved a software company with the mission of providing innovative products and medical services to the therapeutic industry.
The elevator pitch winner in this category was Green Greens of the University of Arkansas.
Small Business category
The first place winner was Simple + Sweet Creamery of the University of Arkansas. Simple + Sweet Creamery is a business plan for an artisanal, high-quality ice cream sourced from local farmers that serves the Northwest Arkansas community through philanthropic, food-insecurity-focused priorities.
The second place winner was Christ Light Apparel from Central Baptist College. The business plan was created around a Christian hat and apparel company.
The third place winner was APOLLO from Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts. APOLLO is a business plan for an interactive injury prevention for athletes newsletter.
The elevator pitch winner in this category was Small Talks from Arkansas School for Math, Science and the Arts.
Arkansas Capital Corporation has managed the Governor’s Cup since the first competition in 2001. More than 2,900 Arkansas college and university students have been impacted, submitting more than 900 business ideas. In 2021, 31 teams of 88 students from seven Arkansas universities competed.
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 entrepreneurial history and discover the opportunities Arkansas has to offer to entrepreneurs who want to start businesses in the state.
“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.”