Florida A&M University (FAMU) students Emerson Naylor, School of Business and Industry (SBI), and Evan Anderson, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, won the 2009 Ford HBCU Business Classic Competition. As the grand prize winner, the student team won $35,000 in personal scholarships and $15,000 for FAMU.
“This is truly a great win given that Dr. Colin Benjamin, the team’s advisor, passed in January and was not with them at the case competition,” said Shawnta Friday-Stroud, interim dean of FAMU’s SBI. “This win is a testament to the character, determination, and academic preparation of FAMU students.”
This is FAMU’s second time winning the business classic competition.
An independent panel of judges, made up of influential entrepreneurs from the African-American business community picked the winners at the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) National Conference in Atlanta. The judges for the competition include George Fraser, chairman and CEO of FraserNet/author; Boris Kodjoe, actor/entrepreneur; Pat Lottier, CEO of Atlanta Tribune; Will Packer, Chairman and CEO of Rainforest Films/producer; and Randal Pinkett, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of BCT Partners/author. The event will be hosted by Kevin Frazier, TV anchor and entertainment correspondent.
To enter the competition, the student team, along with a faculty adviser, had to submit a business plan, which included the type of business, product or service, pricing considerations, target market and competition, and general operations. As a finalist, FAMU students had 25 minutes to present their business plans to the judges and prove that their plan can be converted into a viable business strategy.
The finalist competition will also premiere as a TV One special in May 2009. The “Ford HBCU Classic Special” will feature candid moments with the student teams as they prepare for the competition, highlights from each business plan presentation as well as the celebrity judges’ selection process to determine the 2009 winners. Students, alumni, parents and business professionals can visit www.tvoneonline.com for exact air date, local times and channel listings.
The Ford HBCU Business Classic launched in the fall of 2004 in response to Ford’s recognition of a need in the black business community to educate and develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. It was designed to offer students the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world entrepreneurial experience. The competition was opened to historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) students nationwide, and received business plan submissions from students from more than 80 percent of the nation’s HBCUs.