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Innovative Exercise Device Wins 1st Place in Gillespie Business Plan Competition

A lightweight, portable exercise device that targets the gluteal muscles took first place at the recent Gillespie Business Plan Competition at the University of Mississippi.

Rich Gentry (left) and Clay Dibrell (right), co-directors of the UM Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, congratulate Tyler Moore and Jake Harrison, winners of the 2019 Gillespie Business Plan competition. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services.

Move Fitness LLC, co-founded by Tyler Moore and Jake Harrison, designed the GluteMove device for exercise, targeting primarily college-aged women. Both from Corinth, Moore is majoring in business, and Harrison in exercise science.

Moore and Harrison’s company won $10,000 and a year of complimentary office space at the Innovation Hub at Insight Park, the university’s business incubator.

“Since day one, we knew we had a unique product and business idea,” the partners said. “We entered the Gillespie Business Plan Competition knowing we had a solid foundation for a business, but we were uncertain of the outcome due to all the great competition.

“We are very grateful for the prize money and the office space, as it gives us a starting point to launch our business.”

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship hosts the business plan competition each year.

“We are thrilled to have such a wonderful competition that highlights our students’ initiatives and desires to start businesses,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration.

“The Gillespie Business Plan competition is an excellent experiential learning experience for these students, and to be able to pitch their ideas to our esteemed alumni and business professionals creates a real-world environment that is instructive and requires a careful analysis of their proposed businesses.”

EZ Automation came in at second place, winning $5,000. Prahar Patel, a double major in management information systems and biology from Madison, presented a technology company that integrates home electronic devices that can automate entertainment, lighting, environmental, security and other household systems. The company also helps homeowners choose and install the equipment.

“We do the hard part, so you don’t have to,” Patel said. “You think of it; we will make it happen.”

Placing third in the contest was Scout’s Resale, an online thrift shop redesigning and selling clothing.

Founded by Elizabeth Furtado, an English major from Somerset, Massachusetts, the company donates a portion of all its proceeds to the local chapter of Court Appointed Special Advocates in Oxford. Scout’s Resale received $2,500 in prize money.

“This may have been the best final four student entrepreneurial teams we have ever had in Gillespie,” said Owens Alexander, instructor of management and entrepreneurship, who has been a key figure in elevating the exposure of the CIE and mentoring students with their startup ideas.

Alexander plans to retire in May after five years with the program.

“This is the culmination of the year for us,” said Rich Gentry, co-director of the CIE. “It was bitter sweet this year with Owens’ retirement, but we could not be more thrilled with the support from the dean, the university and our outstanding alumni.

“Their support helped the CIE produce some truly exceptional students this year.”

This year, 34 entrepreneurs entered the competition. An internal business school faculty panel evaluated all entries and selected 18 businesses to advance in the competition.

The finals featured eight participants presenting eight-minute pitches to a panel of judges. The top four advanced to the final round on April 12. Presentations were followed by 10 minutes of questions from the judges.

This year featured a variety of distinguished judges, including Stuart Coleman of Chevron Ventures; Lawrence Adams, a Jimmy John’s franchisee; William Yates of W.G Yates & Sons Construction; Stephen Johnston of Forte’ Ventures; Gail Pittman of Gail Pittman Designs; David Lane of Canal Barge in New Orleans; Adrienne Q. Sanford and Jessica Querin of Carvana; John Oxford of Renasant Bank; Keisha Richard of Cox Enterprises; NJ Correnti of Nicholas Air; Jeff Conley of Conley Buick GMC Subaru; Chuck Smith Jr. of Guardian Manufacturing; Johnny Maloney of Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City; Liza Cirlot-Looser of The Cirlot Agency; Jan and Lawrence Farrington; Josh Mabus of the Mabus Agency; Edith Kelly-Green, former FedEx VP; and Chuck Nicholson of Community Bank.

“The competition allows student entrepreneurs from across campus to interact with entrepreneurship faculty along with our successful entrepreneurs who come back to campus,” said Clay Dibrell, CIE co-director.

“This interaction leads to the different teams, such as the Gillespie winners Tyler and Jake, with their venture to go from an interesting idea, which they created on their own this past fall, to a viable venture this spring through guidance from the CIE, Rebel Venture Capital Fund, Insight Park and our alumni.”

For more information about the Gillespie Business Plan Competition, follow this link.

Story by Karsyn King

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