MAY 18, 2005

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Cameron University SIFE team wins first place in business plan competition, earns $20,000


Members of Cameron University's SIFE team pose with CU President Cindy Ross, center, after they won the inaugural 2005 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition recently in Edmond. Cameron defeated more than 26 teams from colleges and universities across Oklahoma to win the competition and the $20,000 first place prize.

Having a sound business plan always pays dividends.

For Cameron University’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team, an excellent business plan turned into a $20,000 payday.

The SIFE team won first place in the inaugural 2005 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition, a statewide contest that included 26 student teams from 14 Oklahoma colleges and universities.

“The SIFE team and the faculty who supports them worked tremendously hard this year and they deserve this great recognition,” said Cameron President Cindy Ross. “The ability of our students to successfully compete at the state and national levels is a testament to their talents and to the quality of education they receive at Cameron.”

The announcement of CU’s win came during an awards luncheon recently at the Nigh University Center on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

Cameron’s winning presentation team consisted of Cinnamon Bock, a senior finance major, Barbara Jeske, senior biology major, and Keith Wright, a senior management major, all from Lawton; Jenny Jackson, a junior marketing major from Frederick; and Matthew Modeste, a senior accounting major from Saint Lucia.

These students were supported by the other 45 members of the CU SIFE team, which served as a research group for the project, as well as Cameron faculty Dr. Peter Abramo, Dr. John Bachelor and Dr. Shawn Carraher, the Virginia Brewczynski Endowed Chair.

“I’m just thrilled that the entire state will have the opportunity to recognize the high-caliber and quality of students at Cameron,” said Dr. Sylvia Burgess, Dean of the School of Business and faculty co-advisor. “The energy and intellectual capacity of these students are amazing and they are a pure pleasure to work with.”

The Cameron SIFE team was selected as one of 12 state semifinalists in early April after submitting their business proposal to a review panel. Each business plan was examined for a start-up or early stage venture and addressed the entire business concept, including implementation.

The semifinalists, which included teams from Oral Roberts University, Southeastern State University, and Tulsa Community College, as well as multiple teams from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, then competed in a two-day event at the end of April to decide the finalists and the winners.

Cameron’s entrepreneurial presentation centered on the development of Called ChemComBioLab, research company that specializes in utilization of bio-infomatic technologies to fight cancer.

After the first night of competition, Cameron was selected as one of six finalist teams, along with Oral Roberts and four teams from OSU. The following day the finalists participated in one last competition, which included a 20-minute presentation and a 20-minute question-and-answer session with a panel of judges.

The teams then had to wait until Wednesday’s luncheon to hear the results. Oral Roberts finished third and received $5,000. One of the OSU teams took second place and garnered $10,000 and CU finished first. Beyond the $20,000 winnings, the CU teams’ faculty advisors also received $1,500.

The CU SIFE team was also awarded $1,000 and the faculty advisors $500 for being named a semifinalist. Of the total $23,000 earned from the competition, the SIFE team plans to use the $21,000 as seed money to begin the ChemComBioLab business, while the money awarded to the faculty advisors will fund SIFE team projects and competitions, said Dr. Suzanne Clinton, associate dean of the School of Business and faculty co-advisor.

However, Clinton saw the value of the competition far exceeding the money.

“The competition provided our students with an experience that cannot be obtained in the classroom,” Clinton said. “From the team who did the research to the presentation team and the faculty who assisted us with the project, everyone worked diligently to ensure the SIFE team showcased the quality of the academic experience provided at Cameron University.”

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, underwriter of the competition, is a national philanthropic organization founded in late 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.

Contact: Adam Calaway, CU Government and Community Relations, 580-581-2211