It Began With A Vision

The Summer of 2022 marked the beginning of an adventure. SOU Alumni Jim Teece and Dena Matthews envisioned awarding SOU students with start-up money for well-done business proposals. They wanted to encourage students to dream big, really big, and develop ideas that would change the world. So they established annual award money to provide contest winners with cash for those new “ventures.”

Soon afterward, the Director of the Business, Communication, and Environment Division (BCE), Vince Smith, assumed responsibility for implementing that vision. He also saw the potential for good and sent a message to the MBA Program Coordinator, Douglas Daley. Vince asked if he would help create a proposal to share with the other Division Directors and Program Chairs. The two quickly saw the massive potential of the vision of Jim and Dena and began developing implementation ideas.

How Do We Make It Exciting?

The Business Venture Tournament (BVT) provides all SOU students an equal opportunity to win the established award money. That means every division, every program, and every student, a very tall order indeed. Yet it presents an opportunity to engage students with each other and the faculty as well as provide real-world experience BEFORE graduation. After the last few dreadful years with Covid, why not have some fun simultaneously?

All students must develop a Senior Capstone or Project to graduate. Nearly all of those include an element of aspiration to succeed. Succeed at a dream. Succeed at a goal. Succeed at change. The Tournament provides a fun learning path to gain the skills needed to make those goals and dreams a reality. Any venture that involves structure to accomplish organizational goals requires some aspect of a business. Large or small, ventures manage money, products, or services and market themselves after some fashion.

How Do Students Win The Money?

Students develop a business venture plan and formally present the idea and plan to a panel of judges. The judges evaluate the plan for properly completing industry research, market research, and financial planning. The formal presentation will demonstrate the candidate’s ability to share the idea with strangers and maintain professionalism and pose. All of that accounts for 80% of the final scoring. The other 20% comes from student votes, which is part of the fun. Before the rounds of competition begin, each participant must record a 1-minute or less video “pitch.” Videos are uploaded to the BVT Workshop website to await votes. Social media marketing, soap box pitches, whatever works within the bounds of decency, and the SOU Code of Conduct encourages students to vote for their “pitch.”

Excited to play but won’t be ready by the deadline? Interested students should begin planning to ensure they have the skills needed to compete when the next year arrives. The BVT Workshop will operate year-round with resources, advice, and encouragement to all SOU Students.

Visit the “Quest” next to understand the deliverables needed to compete in the Tournament. And get excited, for crying out loud! This will be fantastic!