A team of RSU students finished in the top five during the initial interview round of the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup, the only undergraduate team to earn this distinction. The team also was selected to advance to the semifinals of the Business Plan Competition to be held April 13, in Oklahoma City.
The RSU team won $5,000 for being recognized as one of five Industry Category winners during the first round of team interviews. The other winners were graduate student teams from the University of Oklahoma, the University of Tulsa and two teams from Oklahoma State University.
Michael Orr of Tulsa serves as team leader, with fellow members Lori Keough, Katrina Loy and Patrick Johnson of Claremore and Linsey Curtis of Collinsville. Loy and Curtis also are student-athletes on the RSU Hillcats softball team.
Charles Atkins, instructor in the RSU School of Business, serves as the faculty adviser for the team. Atkins previously led two teams to the Governor’s Cup finals in 2008 and 2009, respectively. In the latter year, RSU was the only regional university to qualify two teams for the semifinals.
The RSU team’s business plan, PERK, LLC, aims to provide owners of personal electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets and laptops with an efficient and inexpensive alternative to traditional repair and replacement options. PERK, which stands for personal electronic repair kit, would provide consumers with tools, diagrams and tutorials to perform many repairs on their own.
Almost 40 teams from college campuses across the state participated in the interviews held on February 24, at i2E’s Oklahoma City offices. During the interviews, each team defended their business plan to an i2E Entrepreneur in Residence and an i2E staff member without the help of supporting materials. The results were announced in late March.
The Governor’s Cup simulates the real-world process of entrepreneurs creating a business plan and making a pitch to solicit start-up funds from potential investors. The competition is underwritten by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and local partners, and is managed by i2E, Inc.
The teams are competing for cash prizes and scholarships of more than $250,000, with the winning teams in each division earning $20,000 each. The semifinals will be held on April 13, in Oklahoma City. Each team will deliver a 20-minute presentation, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with a panel of investment experts. The finals, which will follow the same presentation format, will be held the next day. The top two teams in each division, graduate and undergraduate, will compete in the Tri-State Business Plan Competition in Las Vegas in May.
RSU has a history of success in Governor’s Cup competition and is routinely among the best showing regional universities. Teams from the Claremore university were selected for the semifinals in five of the last seven years and reached the finals in 2008 and 2009.
A video featuring Orr and other Governor’s Cup team leaders can be viewed on the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup – Oklahoma Facebook page.