FSU Business Students Shine at National Competition
Fayetteville State University (FSU) won first place during the Opportunity Funding Corporation –Venture Challenge (OFC-VC) Annual Business Plan Competition for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) April 15-18 in Atlanta, Ga. FSU defeated 20 other teams and won a trophy and a $15,000 cash prize.
Team members were Stephen Pennink, Carlos Swan, Daniel Kittrell, Samantha Bogard, and Charles Williams. The advisors were Dr. Assad Tavakoli, Dean of the FSU School of Business and Economics, and Christine Powell, assistant to the dean.
The FSU team’s winning business plan for the competition Advanced Bio-Energy Technologies, Inc. (ABT). ABT is a vibrant and socially responsible marketing company focused on promoting green technologies to create a cleaner environment. The first product ABT will bring to the market is Sio Soil, a zero-gravity silica growth media which allows consumers to grow indoor or outdoor annual plants more conveniently. This patent-pending reusable product has extensive applications in the retail, greenhouse, and space exploration markets.
Dr. Steven Singletary, Director of the Southeastern NC Regional Microanalytical and Imaging Center and an Assistant Professor of Geology and Chemistry in the Department of Natural Sciences at FSU, is the inventor of Sio Soil. The university filed the patent application on December 10, 2009.
Every fall, the FSU School of Business and Economics sends students an announcement detailing the OFC competition and selection of a team. Those who respond are screened by Tavakoli, who chooses team members. After the team is formed, a business plan is written. Starting in October, team members meet a minimum of 15 hours per week, doing extensive research to be submitted for competition by the second week of March. Three weeks before the competition, the plans are sent to OFC, which submits them to a panel of judges who evaluates the plans. At the competition, teams are given 15 minutes each to present their plans and they answer questions for at least 30 minutes after that. Teams that advance to the final round meet before another panel of judges, who select the winners.
For winning the contest, the team earned the right to participate in the International Business Plan Competition sponsored by Moot Corp. This is perhaps the most prestigious business plan competition where only major United States and international universities are invited to present their cases to venture capitalists for possible funding.
OFC is a not-for-profit corporation which was created in 1970 to facilitate the ownership of for-profit business entities by minorities and other disadvantaged persons through provision of investment capital. OFC, by utilizing guarantees, direct loans and equity investments, has generated in excess of $66 million in capital for over 184 minority owned companies in 35 states. Through equity investments in financial intermediaries such as OFC, Inc., Syndicated
Communications, Inc., S&L Acquisition Company, Inc., OFC has generated another $200 million in financings from banks, insurance companies, venture capital companies, and others for literally hundreds of additional small business concerns.
Dr. Mohammad Bhuyian, an Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Fayetteville State University, is national director of the OFC Venture Challenge program.
FSU is the second-oldest public institution in North Carolina. A member of the University of North Carolina System, FSU has more than 6,300 students and offers degrees in 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
For more information, please call (910) 672-1474.