Top MBA students place third in competition

The Southern University College of Business’ MBA students placed third overall in the 2013 Opportunity Funding Corporation Venture Innovation & Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition that was held in Atlanta, April 18-21.

Twenty-two Historically Black Colleges and Universities participated in the competition, including Jackson State University, Hampton University, Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Florida A&M University and more. The annual competition is designed to bridge the entrepreneurial gap at HBCUs.

The SU team, comprise of five graduate students, included: CEO and Chief of Research and Development Ryan Nicholas; Chief of Marketing (wine) Daviana Jeanty; Chief of Marketing (juice) Tatiana Bruce; Chief of Operations Koyan Diarra; Chief of Finance Arthur Namtamu; and Development/ Placement Coordinator Toni Jackson as the advisor.

Southern placed first in their division to advance to the finals with their Global Comapanty that produced juice and wine made from a Hibiscus plant called Jag Hibiscus International.

The MBA students partnered with the AgCenter-Urban Forestry major Nicolas- to make the company a success.

Nicholas said being a part of the competition was a “real life” experience. “Placing in the competition was remarkable because we had a product that we believed in and to have CEOs in the industry that believed in our product, as well, was pretty phenomenal,” said Nicholas.

“What I really liked about this competition for Southern was that it both the School of Business and AgCenter have good programs and good students,” Nicholas said of the collaboration between the two departments.

The OFC Innovation and Entrepreneurship has helped over 40 HBCUs over the last 10 years to develop a comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum that would be particularly relevant in preparing young African-American men and women to think like entrepreneurs and to become entrepreneurs.

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