Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup

Watch the 2016 Governor’s Cup Awards Luncheon!
(Held Tuesday, April 19 – Wally Allen Ballroom, Little Rock Statehouse Convention Center)

Business Plans Targeting Agricultural and Health Fields Win $50,000 Cash in 2016 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition; Pulaski Technical College, Arkansas State University Faculty Honored

April 19, 2016 – Little Rock, Ark. – Drone Surveying Solutions, from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, today won the undergraduate division of the 16th annual Donald W. Reynolds Collegiate Business Plan Competition. The Graduate Division was won by VivImmune, representing the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. The Governor’s Cup awards were presented today at a luncheon hosted by Arkansas Capital, with more than 760 guests in the audience. The luncheon emcees were Mike Preston, director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and his wife, Anne Imanuel Preston, broadcast news anchor and journalist.

Drone Surveying Solutions’ business concept provides farmers with controlled and targeted solutions to decrease crop loss, expenses, and negative environmental effects using unmanned aerial vehicle technology. Associated with the technology is a patented spraying device. VivImmune’s cancer treatment platform combines immunotherapy with drug delivery. Immunotherapies are a new class of cancer therapies that work by teaching a patient’s own body to fight cancer.

With their wins, Drone Surveying Solutions and VivImmnue each won $25,000 in cash, provided through a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The Governor’s Cup total annual cash prize pool of $154,000 is one of the largest cash prize pools in the country, with winners allowed to spend the money as they choose.

Other winners are:
Undergraduate Division
Second Place – Natural State Bedding, John Brown University, Siloam Springs – $15,000 cash prize
Third Place – Short Bow, University of Central Arkansas, Conway – $10,000 cash prize

Graduate Division
Second Place – Actio Systems, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville – $15,000 cash prize
Third Place – deciLvl, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville – $10,000 cash Prize

Agriculture Award (presented by Arkansas Farm Bureau)
First Place – AGCorp, Ouachita Baptist University – $5,000
Second Place – Natural State Bedding, John Brown University – $3,000

Innovation Award (presented by Delta Plastics)
Undergraduate Winner – Natural State Bedding, John Brown University – $5,000
Graduate Winner – VivImmnue, University of Arkansas – $5,000

A highlight of the annual Governor’s Cup Awards Luncheon is the AT & T Elevator Pitch competition, where each of the 12 finalist teams in the graduate and undergraduate divisions pitch their ideas to the audience. At the end of the 90-second pitches, the audience texts their votes through Sumotext for their favorite pitches. The results are tabulated and the winners are also announced at the luncheon. Both today’s top winners – Drone Surveying Solutions and VivImmnue – won their divisions, taking home an additional $2,000 each in cash prizes.

Erick Chang of Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, and April Hearne of Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock also shared the spotlight with today’s winning teams at the awards luncheon. They were presented with the third annual C. Sam Walls Entrepreneur Educator Award, honoring retired Arkansas Capital CEO Sam Walls, Jr., and his tireless advocacy for entrepreneurial education in Arkansas while CEO of the company from 1989 until his retirement in 2013. The Walls Entrepreneur Educator Award is also sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Both Dr. Chang and Ms. Hearne won a cash prize of $2,500; with another $2,500 in cash provided to their institutions for the furtherance of entrepreneurial education.

“The Governor’s Cup program is ultimately an academic competition, teaching Arkansas’ collegians to think like entrepreneurs,” said Rush Deacon, CEO of Arkansas Capital. “What is amazing in watching the evolution of the program since its start in 2001 is how the plans entered now are dominated by actual development-stage enterprises, with the real potential for commercial deployment.”

Deacon congratulated the academic sponsors and their colleges and universities throughout the state. “They have done a marvelous job of using this competition to steer their students into some truly remarkable work.  The economic dividends for our state will continue to be realized. As Governor Hutchinson said in his video remarks at the luncheon, the Governor’s Cup is a catalyst in bringing business ideas and dreams to life, encouraging the next generation of Arkansans to leave their mark.”

With today’s wins, Drone Surveying Solutions, VivImmune, Natural State Bedding, and Actio Systems will be moving on to compete with the same first- and second-place winners of Reynolds Governor’s Cup competitions in Nevada and Oklahoma for top honors in the 9th annual Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State Collegiate Business Plan competition. The event will be held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas May 25 and 26 with a total cash prize pool of $118,000.


Celebrating Arkansas’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs for 16 Years!

Welcome to the 2016 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition!

There is no cost to enter the Governor’s Cup and it’s open to degree-seeking students in any program of study (agriculture, hospitality, business, engineering, retail, etc.) enrolled at any Arkansas college or university during the summer and/or fall 2015 or spring 2016 semesters.

Since 2001, the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF), a 501(c)(3) affiliate of Arkansas Capital, has challenged students with ideas for new or better products or services to see if they could be profitable by putting it through a rigorous and real-world entrepreneurial process – while at the same time having the chance to win big cash awards! Thanks to the generosity of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the cash prize pool is once again $154,000, one of the largest collegiate business plan prize pools in the United States.

There is nothing to lose and much to gain by competing in the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup. In addition to the real-world entrepreneurial experience, competitors also get a unique advantage in future job interviews because they can use their Governor’s Cup experience as a talking point during interviews with potential employers. Competitors also became much more appreciative of the entrepreneurial process and have applied what they learned in their professional careers at businesses throughout the state and the country.

Join the ranks of more than 2,100 competitors and their advisors, who have been part of the proud history of the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup! Follow the links at the bottom of this page for more information.

Watch the 2015 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Awards Luncheon:


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