Central Baptist College, Harding University/University of Central Arkansas,
and John Brown University Also Winners
Little Rock, Ark. – A product designed to give duck hunters additional support and balance while removing waders, an idea to utilize “e-paper” to turn a surface such as a car bumper or laptop into a space for advertising, and development of a drug that has shown promise to protect babies from maternal opioid use disorder are the winners of the 23rd annual Arkansas Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition, presented by Arkansas Capital Corporation in Little Rock.
The winners were announced at an awards luncheon at the Fayetteville Public Library Events Center.
Both students and faculty members of the winning teams shared a $114,000 cash prize pool, provided by title sponsor Dhu Thompson. The Walton Family Foundation was the competition’s Venture Sponsor. Winrock Automotive and Innovate Arkansas were other major sponsors.
The 2023 Governors’ Cup winners are:
Winrock Automotive Small Business Division:
First Place: Waderbuddy – Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia ($10,000)
Second Place: Covered by Grace – Ouachita Baptist University ($7,500)
Third Place: EzB – Central Baptist College, Conway ($5,000)
High-Growth / Technology Division – Undergraduate Track:
First Place: AdCharta – University of Arkansas, Fayetteville ($20,000)
Second Place: Abily – John Brown University, Siloam Springs ($10,000)
Third Place: MicroCures – Ouachita Baptist University ($7,500)
Innovate Arkansas High-Growth / Technology Division – Graduate Track:
First Place: Pediatrica Therapeutics – University of Arkansas, Fayetteville ($20,000)
Second Place: CareMate Technologies – University of Arkansas, Fayetteville ($10,000)
Third Place: Vitruvian Matrix – University of Arkansas, Fayetteville ($7,500)
Elevator Pitch – $1,000 to each winner:
Winner – Winrock Automotive Small Business Division: Waderbuddy
Winner – High-Growth / Technology Division, Undergraduate Track: CarpeDerm – Harding University, Searcy and University of Central Arkansas, Conway
Winner – High-Growth / Technology Division, Graduate Track: U.N.C.L. – University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Faculty advisors for the nine winners in the three overall tracks won a cash award of $1,500 each.
At the luncheon, Thompson, the founder, past owner, and former chairman of the board of Delta Plastics and former owner and past chairman of the board of Revolution, shared that he encountered both successes and failures during his entrepreneurial journey, passing along the following advice for competitors: “Learn to let failure open the doors to your successes; learn to put fear into its place; find and practice courage. Whoever said, ‘it’s not personal, it’s business?’ They were wrong. The entrepreneurial spirit is personal. It’s your idea, your values, your ethics, and the culture you build.”
Since the first Governor’s Cup in 2001, 3,165 college and university students have competed, submitting 977 business ideas. For 2023, 78 students comprising 23 teams from nine Arkansas universities entered the competition. Arkansas Capital CEO Sam Walls said, “Once again, we at Arkansas Capital and our judges were highly impressed with the quality of plans that we saw. We want to congratulate all our winners as it was not an easy decision. Their hard work and great ideas were evident.”
Over its history, the Governor’s Cup has awarded $2.81 million to winners.
For more information about the winners, luncheon photos, competition requirements, previous winners, and more, visit argovernorscup.org.