Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Opportunity Funding Corporation Announces Winners of 2014 HBCU Business Plan Competition

Media - Newsroom/Press

Top Winners Received $15,000 Cash Prize

Washington, DC – (April 14, 2014) The Opportunity Funding Corporation (OFC), a division of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, selected the winners of its 2014 Business Plan Competition, announced OFC President M. Scott Lilly.

The three-day Competition, held in Atlanta was designed to provide collegiate entrepreneurs a real world experience that included conceiving a business plan and presenting those plans to a panel of judges. Team Members Alicia Jindy Brown and Ana-Kaye Green, from University of the West Indies, walked away as the 2014 winners and a $7,500 check each for their hard work and innovative ideas. OFC will be sending this winning team to the Global Venture Lab Investment Competition, hosted by the University of Texas at Austin (May 1-3, 2014). International teams will compete for a grand prize of $78,000 and an invitation to close the NASDAQ OMX Stock Market.

This Competition inspired over 100 students, from HBCUs across the country, to nurture and develop their creative ideas and re-ignite the entrepreneurial spirit. The Opportunity Funding Corporation Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, held in Atlanta, offered a comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum particularly relevant in preparing young African-American men and women to become entrepreneurs. It included three components: Business Plan Competition, HBCU Dean and Faculty Development Seminar, and the newly created TMCF Entrepreneurial Development Program that aim to stimulate student interest in entrepreneurship.

TMCF also teamed up with Gallup, at the Competition, to launch the first entrepreneurial talent assessment program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) during the OFC Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program. Gallup utilized its new Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder®– designed to help people discover their innate talents for starting and growing businesses; which was created by Gallup after studying great entrepreneurs to understand how they start, sustain, and grow successful companies – in a first large scale deployment in the higher education field.

“We witnessed some innovative and fresh ideas from the next generation of business builders,” said Lilly. The Gallup Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder® will definitely help our partner schools to continue identifying this next generation of entrepreneurial talent on their campuses.”

Each student participant was provided an access code to complete the Gallup Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder® prior to the Business Plan Competition. In addition, OFC secured codes for deans and faculty from participating schools to receive up to 100 additional codes to use when they return to their campuses, to infuse this innovative tool into their entrepreneurship curriculum.

“Not every college student that graduates wants to work for a corporation. We are preparing some of the brightest students in entrepreneurship and business, which will fuel our nation’s economy,” said TMCF President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.

ABOUT THE THURGOOD MARSHALL COLLEGE FUND (TMCF)
TMCF is named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American Justice. Established in 1987, TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools and law schools. Through its scholarships and programs, TMCF plays a key role in preparing the leaders of tomorrow.

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY FUNDING CORPORATION (OFC)
Started in 2000, the Opportunity Funding Corporation (OFC) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, a new division of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), has made a huge impact on entrepreneurship program development at the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. With a 40-year history of developing minority businesses in the United States for entrepreneurs like BET Founder Bob Johnson and Radio One Founder Cathy Hughes, OFC focuses on developing strategies for attracting capital, as well as nurturing the creation of new classes of professional African-American entrepreneurs.

For more information on TMCF or OFC, visit www.thurgoodmarshallcollegefund.org.