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Business students gear up for competition again

Three teams of John Brown University strategic management students will be submitting their fully developed business plans to the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup later this month.

Their intents to compete were due Feb. 1. The teams are now proofing their new and original plans so they will be ready to submit.

The three businesses entering the competition this year are Advante, Practical Homecare Devices and Smart Soil.

Each team consists of four or five people who hold positions such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer.

During fall semesters, students in strategic management develop the first five years of a business plan.

The table of contents for each of their business plans contain a wide range of things that make a business successful. Contents include a company overview, information on their product and/or service, market and competitive analysis, management team structure and operating and financial strategies.

Senior John Rutledge, international business major, and his team are submitting their business plan for Advante.

“We are basically the Netflix of jewelry,” Rutledge said.

The business allows its customers to choose from a wide variety of jewelry to rent.

“Jewelry is something that people are constantly renewing. Styles are always changing and the desire to mix and match is prominent,” Rutledge said.

Seniors Caroline Finney, Estefania Verdin and Miguel Olivo are also part of the Advante team.

Senior Emily Anderson, marketing major, and her teammates will be submitting their business plan for Practical Homecare Devices.

“Our products will make aid more convenient to people with disabilities,” Anderson said.

Her teammates include seniors Andy Daniels, Kyle Mowrer, Carah Brown and Chuck Cheng.

Brown’s dad helped build the business’ product called “Asend,” which is an automated device to help elderly and those with disabilities get on and off the toilet.

The third team that will be submitting their business plan for Smart Soil include seniors Elizabeth Varela Reyes, Stephanie Reno, Phil Ruppert, Michael Shaffer and Maritta Mitchell.

Mitchell, an international business major, said, “Smart Soil is an assembly and distribution company for a patented soil compaction sensor, the Smart Sensor.”

The “Smart Sensor” reduces expenses and maximizes crop yields. The company markets to commercial crop farmers and sells directly through farm implement dealerships.

“The ‘Smart Sensor’ attaches to farm machinery and takes readings of soil density every one to three feet,” Mitchell said. “These readings are sent to an onboard computer system, indicating where the farmers should increase or decrease tillage depth, thus saving labor and fuel.”

Eva Fast, instructor of business, was in charge of deciding which teams from the University would go on and submit their plans to the Governor’s Cup.

“I tell the students that the more they know how to innovate, the better of an asset they are to a business,” Fast said.

The top 12 plans in Arkansas will be announced in March, giving the teams time to make last minute revisions before April when they will present their oral presentation.

The top two teams in Arkansas go on to Tri-state competition in May. Teams from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Nevada will travel to Las Vegas to compete.

Last year, the University brought home a total of $104,000 between both the state and Tri-state competitions.

The Governor’s Cup began in 2001, and the University joined the competition in 2003.