By Jennyne Pinter, special to BIZ. Magazine
Students at Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) made their best “elevator pitch” for their business idea last month.
The BPCC 2-Minute Drill, presented by BRF’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP), BPCC, and the Air Force Reserve’s 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, was held as part of the Air Show Innovation Showcase event May 14.
The first of its kind event showcased brilliant minds and the excitement for the tech future in north Louisiana with separate sessions in the morning and afternoon with BPCC students delivering 2-minute business pitches to a panel of judges.
All 33 entries were awarded a $25 gift certificate to the BPCC bookstore, but the student with the winning pitch would walk away with $500 and a lot of bragging rights.
“A few people stood out in their mind,” said event emcee Sabrina Adsit of Sabrina Events, PR, and Marketing. “They were excited to see the draw from students to come and do this on their own because usually it’s a forced thing that you have to do for class credit. But with this, you had to sign up on your own, and it’s for you.”
The first place winner was Dakota Ferry with his idea about clean water filtration and power generation. Ferry is a student of Applied Science in Cyber Technology (Network Security concentration).
“I’ve been working on this idea for a few years, however, this was the first time I was able to pitch it,” said Ferry. “The BPCC 2-Minute Drill gave me the opportunity to pitch my idea, and also to form connections with colleagues who I’ll be able to begin working with moving forward.”
Second place was awarded to BPCC students Panharith Bell and Juan Flores. Third place was awarded to BPCC student Paul Vu.
Awards and accolades were delivered to the students who had pitched ideas successfully to the judges by members of the 307th Bomb Wing. The judges based their decision on the student’s introduction, discussion of the problem, proposed solution, why their idea outshines existing solutions, and how their idea could generate a source of revenue.
“It has been great to watch these students and see the innovative ideas they’ve come up with. You can see they have put a lot of work into this,“ said Col. Courtney A. Hamilton, vice commander of the 307th Bomb Wing. “It’s always interesting to see new innovation, as we need new and interesting ideas to continue into the future, and I think these guys have a great start with that.”
“This event was a great way to get our students face-to-face with industry professionals. These participants truly embody the entrepreneurial spirit here at BPCC,” said Dr. Jennifer Lawrence, BPCC Director, Institutional Advancement & Grants.
In the past two years, EAP has launched its Grand Prix university business plan competitions at the following institutions: LSU Shreveport, Northwestern State University, Grambling State University and Centenary College. The addition of the BPCC 2-Minute Drill is another push toward promoting innovation in North Louisiana through a wide range of university partnerships focused on helping young entrepreneurs succeed.
“There is a lot of innovation in the area,” Adsit said. “It seems as though people, these creative types and people with ideas, don’t really know what resources they have in the area. It’s incredibly fruitful.”