Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Roommate-Finding App Wins Mid-South Business Model Competition

BY PRESTON MOORE AND AVERY WILLIS

A housing app developed by a University of Mississippi senior majoring in managerial finance has won first place in the 2020 Mid-South Business Model Competition.

Froomie allows future and current students to find a place to live and match up with a roommate or roommates who meet their requirements. It was developed by Brea Givens, of Austin, Texas, who won $3,000 as the regional winner in the Mid-South BMC and $1,000 for winning the Ole Miss competition, for a total of $4,000.

University of Mississippi senior Brea Givens shows off Froomie, her winning concept in the 2020 Mid-South Business Model Competition. Givens won $4,000 in the competition and plans to use the feedback she has gotten to refine her concept for the UM business school’s Gillespie Business Plan Competition next spring. Submitted photo

“I had the idea for Froomie back in February, and ended up entering the Gillespie Business Plan Competition with an early adaptation of what I thought it could be,” Givens said. “Next semester, I will continue to work on Froomie through the venture accelerator class offered at Ole Miss and prepare for Gillespie.”

The Mid-South BMC is a regional qualifier for the BMC Global, previously known as the International BMC, so Givens will compete in that next spring.

“She put in a tremendous effort and took advantage of the opportunities the university provides by speaking to the entrepreneur-in-residence,” said Rich Gentry, co-director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and associate professor of management at the UM School of Business Administration. “The outcome of her work was an extremely impressive presentation that any employer would be excited to watch.”

The fall competition was created for Ole Miss students before the center became a BMC Global partner in 2015. The CIE invites schools in the region to participate, and the winner goes on to the international competition the following spring.

Although the campus competition has combined with the regional event, the entrepreneurship center maintains a separate award for the best Ole Miss competitor.

“This is the sixth Business Model Competition the CIE has hosted,” said Tong Meng, the center’s director of programs and a UM instructor of management. “I am extremely proud of all teams who exhibited the spirit of entrepreneurship and resilience through their innovative business models.”

Twelve competitors participated in this year’s event, and each received $500 in prize money. The six finalists represented three schools: UM, John Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania.