By Annali Dolman and Aerin Creamer – The Business Problems and Policies (BUS 406) class, led by Professor Elizabeth Hoyt, has successfully completed their business plan competition. Problems and Policies is the culminating capstone course for all Jewell Business Majors, requiring students to apply the knowledge they have acquired during their time at William Jewell College.
The winning team this semester is the Sollular Connections team consisting of Donald Prusha, Heather Ice, Logan Routh, Mitchell Jacobi and Savannah Drew. Their plan was to commercialize a portable, solar powered charging device which was created by fellow student Conner Hazelrigg, entering into a merger with her previously established company to manufacture and sell these devices as well as to develop future technologies.
Students, working in groups of 4 or 5, prepare and present a compelling business plan for a start-up business, given $150,000 in equity to launch the business. Students work on this project throughout the semester and then present their comprehensive business plans in a realistic and rather intense session to outside judges. The judges are experienced venture capitalists, bankers, and/or entrepreneurs, and they evaluate the student presentations as they would evaluate any business professional pitching to them.
A member of the class, senior Savannah Drew articulated that, “The most challenging aspect of the course is time management. There is a lot expected from an individual in this course; however, it is all manageable. For the project specifically, it would be team collaboration between the team about the in-depth analysis of how to start a business. It is difficult to answer all of the real questions without extensive knowledge or experience in the field. This project is definitely a learning process.”
When asked what his key discovery was from the course, senior Robert Hurd stated, “While rewarding, it can be difficult articulating proprietary business ideas to an educated audience. A plan may seem flawless in your mind but explaining it to others can reveal gaps in thinking.”
Additionally, Professor Hoyt was questioned about the class performance and responded with, “The students work very hard on this, and it takes an immense amount of dedicated work, creativity, and commitment to successfully complete this project. The student group that is selected by the judges as the first place winner receives a bonus award of points toward their grade in the course. I am always impressed and grateful for the effort and outstanding performance of my students, and I believe that their success in this project gives them a tremendous confidence boost as they move on to the future.”