$15,000 Awarded to HPU Student Entrepreneurs in the Third Annual Business Plan Competition

First place winner, Cameron McGraw

First place winner, Cameron McGraw

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 25, 2013 – Triad business leaders gathered to judge and award a total of $15,000 in venture capital to three High Point University students during the university’s annual Business Plan Competition.

The competition is sponsored by High Point University’s Phillips School of Business and its Center for Entrepreneurship, in partnership with BB&T. Students were challenged to submit a business plan and present it in front of a panel of five judges.

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Pictured from left to right are first place winner McGraw, second place winner Alexa Crawford and third place winner Kristopher Hovland.

Graduating senior Cameron McGraw was awarded first place and $7,500 for his proposal to open FIKA, a Swedish restaurant in Asheville.

The second place prize of $5,000 went to rising senior Alexa Crawford for her nonprofit, online community named T.E.A.L. (The Ever After Lady). Crawford, a cancer survivor, created the website as a safe, nurturing and social environment for women diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.

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Crawford presents her plan to the judges.

Sophomore Kristopher Hovland was awarded third place and $2,500 for his plan to sell a desk specifically tailored to the needs of computer gamers.

“I was very impressed with the quality and presentation of these proposals,” said Gina Stewart, co-founder and CEO of Clemmons, N.C. based Arctic Inc. “All of the plans were well researched and thought out. I think they will all find success.”

The competition not only allows HPU students the chance to raise funds to get their businesses off the ground, but also provides valuable experience pitching their ideas to investors.

“They gave invaluable feedback,” said McGraw. “This also gives us the confidence to know that our ideas present well in front of actual investors.”

“I was grateful for the tough questions they asked,” added Crawford. “It gives us the opportunity to work through the answers and make our businesses stronger in the long run.”

“Before this I had only presented in front of my classmates,” said Hovland. “It was good to get the nerve racking experience of presenting to investors under my belt.”

“These three exceptional students gave presentations that exemplified the creativity, dedication and entrepreneurial spirit of HPU,” said Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. “This competition gave them the funds to help get their businesses off the ground, and the experience needed to move forward with their plans.”

All three entrepreneurs say they’re working to take their business to the next level. McGraw is moving to Asheville after graduation and will continue building a financial foundation for his restaurant. Crawford is working to attract more women to her website, and Hovland is searching for the right partner to start manufacturing his desks.

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