Several students from Belmont University’s College of Business Administration recently won significant prizes in the International meeting of Delta Epsilon Chi in Atlanta. Delta Epsilon Chi, the collegiate division of DECA, seeks to develop future leaders in marketing, management and entrepreneurship.
More than 100 students from 58 teams participated in the Entrepreneurial Challenge, a featured three-day event in which students (in teams of one to three) come up with a business idea for a specific industry or trend. This year’s focus was on “green” businesses. The student teams researched an idea and made a pitch for a business proposal to a series of business executives who served as judges. Belmont teams placed as the top two winners in the competition and held five of the top 10 finalist spots.
Kevin Jennings, an Entrepreneurship and Music Business major from Nashville, and Sally Munns, an Entrepreneurship major from Brentwood, won first place in the Entrepreneurial Challenge. Winning Team members share a $5,000 Don DeBolt Scholarship and up to $3,000 in travel awards to attend the International Franchise Association Annual Meeting to present their winning proposal. They also received $10,000 in seed money from ideablob.com.
Noah Curran, an International Business/Entrepreneurship major, and Julie Zaloba, an Entrepreneurship major, won second place and $3,000 in prize money.
In addition to being on the first place team in the Entrepreneurial Challenge, Kevin Jennings also took first place in the Business Plan Competition for his business soundAFX, which he currently runs in the College of Business Administration Hatchery program.
Dr. Jeff Cornwall, director of Belmont’s Center for Entrepreneurship, said, “The skills that the Entrepreneurial Challenge tests in the students are vitally important for entrepreneurs. Success in entrepreneurial careers is most often determined by the ability to spot real business opportunities caused by changes in the market. That is what this competition tests.”
The advisers for the Belmont team in this competition included Cornwall, Robert Lambert (Professor of Marketing), Jose Gonzalez (Instructor of Entrepreneurship) and Becky Gann (Program Coordinator for the Center for Entrepreneurship). Dr. Mark Schenkel , assistant professor of entrepreneurship, was unable to attend the event due to teaching conflicts but also played a major role throughout the year in coaching and preparing the students.