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Applications Open for Gillespie Business Plan Competition

By Jacquelyn Delavaldene

University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi students Jake Harrison (left) and Tyler Moore explain their concept for Move Fitness to judges at the 2019 Gillespie Business Plan Competition. Move Fitness went on to win the competition’s top prize. Organizers are accepting applications through March 28 for 18th annual Gillespie Business Plan Competition, which offers cash prizes, mentoring and other services to student entrepreneurs. Photo by Megan Wolfe/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Mississippi is taking applications for its 18th annual Gillespie Business Plan Competition, set for April 8 at the Jackson Avenue Center. 

To apply for the contest, applicants must submit a brief form with basic information and a one-minute entry video demonstrating the problem they are solving and describing their target audience. The entry deadline is March 28.

The competition runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each individual who enters the competition will have an opportunity to pitch an idea, said Tong Meng, the center’s director of programs.

“We are delighted to host the 18th annual Gillespie Business Plan Competition in person,” Meng said. “As always, this competition is open to all current Ole Miss students. Take advantage of this amazing networking and funding opportunity to take your business to the next level.”

Participants compete to win a variety of awards and opportunities for recognition. 

The overall winner of the competition will be awarded office space at Insight Park, as long as admission criteria are met for the incubator, along with a check for $10,000 to the incorporated company. 

The second-place winner will receive a check for $5,000, distributed to the incorporated company. Four runners-up also will be recognized with $1,000 deposited into their bursar accounts. 

Other opportunities for recognition include the Thomas W. Colbert-Community Bank Innovation Award, which includes a check for $5,000; the Lynn and Ron Samuels Student Entrepreneur Award, worth $5,000; and the Stephen E. Rowell Entrepreneur Award, $5,000.

Past winners include Froomie, an all-in-one platform that provides housing solutions for college students and parents at their specific university, developed by Brea Givens, and Dais Notes, a grouping platform that allows students to interact with other students in note sharing and other tutoring efforts, developed by Nicholas Neilson-Slabach and Kyle Herbert. 

Tristan Daily, Noah McKone, Jake Smith and Owen Barry’s Rolling Thunder were recipients of the 2021 Thomas W. Colbert-Community Bank Innovators award. The 2021 Lynn and Samuels Student Entrepreneurs award also went to Brea Givens, developer of Froomie. 

For more information about the Gillespie Business Plan Competition, go to https://olemisscie.com/programs/gillespie-business-plan/ or contact Tong Meng at tmeng@bus.olemiss.edu.

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