20 years later, business plan competition delivering results

Venture capitalist Don Rainey (’82), alongside one another with Russell “Rusty” Shepard (’86), established an endowment that generates far more than $25,000 yearly in competitiveness scholarships. 

SUMMARY: Since its inception, the Rainey-Shepard Small business Strategy Competitiveness has afforded almost 600 learners in the University of Business the prospect to get scholarships. Former contestant Brett Danielson (’18) attests to the effects the competitiveness experienced on his job as an entrepreneur.

The beating coronary heart of JMU’s School of Business enterprise curriculum is a 12-credit score-hour course that integrates finance, administration, marketing and advertising and operations regarded as COB 300, which students acquire quickly pursuing official acceptance into the higher education their junior year. The training course locations students in cross-disciplinary groups and jobs them with integrating materials from the four courses and producing a viable enterprise strategy.

The program looms large. Just about without the need of exception, students worry the rigors of COB 300. Also approximately without exception, the college’s alumni praise what they figured out in the system. 

Twenty decades ago, thriving venture capitalist Don Rainey (’82) proposed a official company prepare competitiveness, which would invite college students with the best business enterprise ideas created in COB 300 to contend for scholarships. Considering the fact that its inception, approximately 600 learners have participated in the Rainey-Shepard Organization Strategy Levels of competition many thanks to the generosity of Rainey and Russell “Rusty” Shepard (’86), who funded the endowment that generates extra than $25,000 on a yearly basis in levels of competition scholarships. 

Russell ”Rusty” Shepard (’86) at the organization plan level of competition

Upon the 20th anniversary of the levels of competition this yr, Rainey chatted through Zoom with several of the alumni who search again fondly on this formative knowledge.

“I talked to a bunch of competition alumni, and it’s really relocating and significant to me when they converse about the effect and that it actually did prepare them,” Rainey said. “Many have claimed to me that was a spotlight of their knowledge in the University of Enterprise. And I explained, ‘Well, you know, evidently that is significantly extra than we would have at any time hoped for.’”  

Brett Danielson (’18), founder and CEO of BarTrack Inc., a world wide hospitality technologies corporation, was among the the alumni on the get in touch with with Rainey.

“The competitors designed me recognize how considerably I love making and resolving challenges, and how I’m going to place my all into it,” Danielson mentioned. “Going through that system truly will make you feel otherwise and place us in a scenario that we or else wouldn’t have been. And who appreciates, with no the company prepare level of competition, I could definitively say my life would be entirely various.

“I certainly watch JMU as 1 of the major influences on my existence, and the enterprise strategy opposition is correct there with it,” he reported. 

Rainey-Shepard-Business-Plan-Competition-students
Only the very best university student enterprise programs from COB 300 are qualified for the Rainey-Shepard competitors.

For Rainey and Shepard, the enterprise system competitors endowment was intentionally designed to concentration the minds of the competition.

“The minute I hope for is that in 10, 15 or 20 several years, they are standing outside the house a boardroom, and they have to go in and convince people today of their tips, the good quality of their function, the precision of their considering,” Rainey explained. “There’s big revenue on the line, and they’ve presently seasoned that because of the business enterprise program levels of competition. And so, the financial component of the organization system levels of competition is not daily life-switching for any person, but it is crucial.”

Danielson mentioned of the prize money, “The prospect to gain a scholarship, for us, was definitely vital. I feel it mattered to each and every one man or woman on the crew. You know, all of us have college student debt. So, it was a large offer for us to contend on a degree the place there was some serious reward for us if we did a thing very good. It was a wonderful working experience.”

Rainey said several company strategy competition alumni are now many years into their professions and have absent on to attain excellent issues. “And it’s excellent to communicate to them as well,” he claimed, “to see that they remember it, and that they, in several situations, treasure it and experience it helped propel them.”

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Maria Flores

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