With a cash prize and business start-up support on the line, six Mary Baldwin University students will present business plans to a panel of university administrators and faculty and members of the local business community on May 18.
The students participating in the inaugural Susan Nolan Palmer Apex Project Competition are also set to be the first to graduate from MBU’s master of business administration (MBA) program this weekend. The program begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Nuthouse on campus.
“I was overjoyed as I reviewed each of the business plans. They were all extremely well written,” said Joseph R. Sprangel, dean of MBU’s College of Business and Professional Studies. “This provides strong evidence that our integrated curriculum and applied practice approach to teaching students how to be social entrepreneurs is a highly efficient and effective culminating experience.”
The participants are Katelyn Coyner (Haberdash), Kausha Parish (K&K’s Childcare Center), Melanie Rhodes (Rhodes Consulting), Daija Rogers (Kofi-Kofi Café), Brittany Weeks (A Place for Everything), and Christina Witt (Witt & Associates).
The award for the top business plan and presentation will be $300; co-working space from the Staunton Innovation Hub; a business branding kit to include logo, business card, and letterhead design as well as a two-part business launch strategy session from Converge Local of Staunton; two hours of free consulting on legal, financial, funding, sales, marketing, and human resources from the Profit Mover Advisory Team that includes alumna and business plan mentor Jan Triplett. The second place prize is $200 and third place is $100. All presenters will receive Watch Ya’ Mouth from Skyler Innovations, the bestselling party game created by Staunton residents Alison and Peter Denbigh.
Launched in the fall, the MBA program at Mary Baldwin was made possible by a generous donation from Palmer, a member of MBU’s Class of 1967. It was designed with a purpose-driven focus — to create business leaders who also want to make a social or environmental difference.