Ford Motor Company Awards $100,000 in Scholarship Funds to Student Entrepreneurs
DETROIT, May 5 -- The next generation of business leaders took home top prizes at the 2009 Ford HBCU Business Classic in Atlanta, GA on April 17. The business plan competition was held at Clark Atlanta University and showcased the best and brightest minds from Historically Black Colleges and Universities around the country. Student teams from Florida A&M University and Howard University were awarded $100,000 in scholarship prizes for their groundbreaking business plans.
Students were challenged to test their entrepreneurial ambitions before a panel of judges, comprised of influential entrepreneurs from the business community. Each team was scored on the viability of their business plans, their overall presentation and the business plan's potential benefit to the community.
"As an HBCU graduate I know firsthand the impact that programs such as the Ford HBCU Business Classic can have on students," said Crystal Worthem, Multicultural Marketing Manager, Ford Brand. "The real-world solutions presented during the competition are extremely timely and will have huge positive implications on communities and businesses nationwide. We are excited to pave the way for this next generation of business leaders, and gain their perspective about the current economic situation and solutions for the domestic auto industry."
Students from Florida A& M University in Tallahassee, FL, submitted their business plan for VMed LLC, and received the grand prize honors for their life changing concept. Their company has developed a plan to utilize technology to simplify people's health care needs. As the grand prize winning team, the students from Florida A&M received a total of $50,000 in scholarship funds -- $35,000 in personal scholarships and $15,000 for their university.
The first runner up team, from Howard University, presented a plan for AutoCard, a student printing company with licensing rights to incorporate university logos on student business cards, and received $30,000 in scholarships -- $20,000 in personal scholarships and $10,000 for the university. Hajj Media, also from Howard University, took home second place honors for a plan to offer multitier marketing solution for local small businesses. The team received the $20,000 - $15,000 in personal scholarship funds and $5,000 for the university.
Finalists presented their business plans to the judges to prove their plan could be converted into a viable business strategy. The judges for the competition included George Fraser, Chairman & CEO of FraserNet/author; Boris Kodjoe, actor/entrepreneur; Pat Lottier, CEO of Atlanta Tribune; Will Packer, Chairman & CEO of Rainforest Films/producer; and Dr. Randal Pinkett, Chairman & CEO of BCT Partners/author. The event was hosted by Kevin Frazier, TV anchor and entertainment correspondent.
To enter the competition, students submitted a business plan via the Ford HBCU Business Classic Website at www.FordHBCU.com. The plans required several key elements to be considered for the competition, including type of business, product or service, target market and competition, and general operations. The five finalists were selected from the entries by SCORE - Counselors to America's Small Business.
The Ford HBCU Business Classic finalist competition will also premiere as a TV One special in July 2009. The "Ford HBCU Business 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, alums, parents and business professionals can visit www.tvoneonline.com for exact air date, local times and channel listings.
For more information on the 2009 Ford HBCU Business Classic competition, visit www.FordHBCU.com.
Ford HBCU Business Classic
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 HBCU students nationwide, and received business plan submissions from students from more than 80 percent of the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Commitment to Education
For more than 40 years, Ford Motor Company has been a major supporter of the hopes and dreams of HBCU students. In the last six years alone, Ford has donated over $10 million to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.