Samford University's Brock School of Business and Regions awarded $20,000 in cash on  April 29 to students who participated in the 5th Annual Regions New Venture Challenge business plan competition.

The six teams in the BUSA 100 and Open divisions competed in front of judges, Brook Balogh, Business and Community Banking Executive at Regions, Cindy Crawford, editor of the Birmingham Business Journal and Howard Finch, dean of the Brock School of Business, in the finals at Regions Bank Auditorium.  Each team had five minutes to give their elevator pitch and to convince the panel of judges why their business plan deserved to win the competition.

"The Regions New Venture Challenge has given our students the opportunity to develop a new business concept, create a business plan and present it to the judges as a viable business idea." said Finch. "We are grateful for this ongoing partnership with Regions over the last five years   because it shows their commitment to helping our students realize their dreams, as well as their commitment to the economic development of our area.  Many of the winners in the Open Division have launched their businesses here in Birmingham."

The Brock School of Business competition is unique in that it allows first-year business students to compete in the BUSA 100 division.  The Open Division includes juniors, seniors, MBA students and recent graduates.

"Because we offer our competition to first-year business students, our program is set apart from others in the country," said Franz Lohrke, Department of Entrepreneurship chair.  "Our competition gives students a chance to develop skills early-on in their college careers and to really see what it takes to launch a business."

The following is the breakdown of the winners of the 2013 Regions New Venture Challenge:

BUSA 100 Division

Winner, $2500 in seed money- - Clean Start Car Wash: A car wash that employs homeless people that have graduated from a job training program at a local charity:  Laura Bean, Andrew Feldewerth, Stephen Gotshall, Lauren Sims, Jacob Wilks

Second place, $1500 in seed money -- Steer-a-Life: A company manufacturing an automotive safety device designed to decrease automobile crashes related to drowsy driving: Taylor Chadwell, Graham Lehman, John Thomas Lynn, Courtney Hawkins, Campbell Markham

Third place, $1000 in seed money -- Bridges Boutique: An upscale boutique that provides new clothing purchase discounts in exchange for donated clothing, which are then redistributed to lower income families: Katrina Brown, Zach Daily, Jay Jasper, Cameron Kostoff, Caroline Ridings 

Open Division:

Winner, $7500 in seed money--  Happy Soup Company: A gourmet soup company using locally sourced ingredients: Lauren Groves, Abby Smith

Second place,$5000 in seed money -- Campus Bid: A peer-to-peer online auction market for university students: Michael Barzizza, Daniel Denning, Drew Hall

Third place, $2500 in seed money --  The Haps: A web-based event planning company for young professionals in Birmingham: Nicole Henderson, Laura Hudson.


Video: Clean Start Car Wash

 Video: Happy City Soups


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.