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April 19, 2013

RSU Business Plan Team Places Second in State Competition

RSU Business Plan TeamA Rogers State University business plan team earned second place in the small business category of the Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup business plan competition, the best showing ever by an RSU team. One of the RSU team members also earned an individual honor for his oral presentation, which was another university first.

The RSU students developed a business plan for the J-Pax backpack, which is a patent-pending backpack that eliminates the need for shoulder straps. Known as the J-Paxers, the team earned $8,000 for their second-place showing in the small business category, which was announced Thursday night by Gov. Mary Fallin during a ceremony in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City earned first place in the small business competition, which included entrants from the University of Central Oklahoma, East Central University, Northern Oklahoma College, St. Gregory's University and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College.

The RSU business plan team was led by Kasey Ng, a marketing sophomore from Miami. Team members were Whitney Duncan, a liberal arts junior from Oologah; Loren LeForce, an accounting junior from Coweta; Bryce Hall, a management sophomore from Salina; Dil Patel, an accounting junior from Claremore; and Samantha Slater, a marketing junior from Oologah. Hall and Ng are members of the President's Leadership Class, while LeForce is a member of the RSU women's soccer team and an Academic All-American.

Hall was one of three students awarded $1,000 for delivering a winning pitch during the oral presentations, along with students from Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma.

The RSU team advisor is Charles Atkins, instructor in the RSU School of Business. Atkins previously advised two RSU teams to the Governor's Cup finals in 2008 and 2009, as well as last year's semifinal team.

The team has been working on their proposals since December, submitting their written business plan in early March. The written plan was reviewed and evaluated by state business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs during the initial round. From there, the team was selected as one of seven teams to advance to the semifinal round on April 12-13.

Managed by i2E, Inc., the Governor's Cup is underwritten by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, AT&T, the Greater OKC Chamber, OG&E, Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Phillips66, State Regents for Higher Education and many other local partners.

This year's Governor's Cup competition included participation from 48 student teams on 15 campuses across the state in two categories – small business and high-growth. The competition simulates the real-world process of entrepreneurs creating a business plan and making a pitch for start-up funds from potential investors all while competing for more than $150,000 in cash prizes and $15,000 in scholarships provided by the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.

More than 1,200 students from 31 Oklahoma campuses have participated in the nine years of the Governor's Cup competition, writing business plans around nearly 400 innovative ideas and competing for more than $1.2 million in cash awards, scholarships and fellowships.

For more information on the competition, visit www.i2e.org.