ATU Boosts Entrepreneurship With Business Challenge

2022 ATU High School Business Challenge Winners
Dr. Russ Jones, dean of the Arkansas Tech University College of Business, presented first-place $500 prizes to Wesley Lamberson of Russellville (left) for the individual category and Madison Woodall and Kaylee Bishop of Melbourne (right) for the team category in the 2022 ATU College of Business High School Business Challenge.

Students from Russellville High School and Melbourne High School won the top prizes in the 2022 Arkansas Tech University College of Business High School Business Challenge, which concluded on Thursday, April 7.

Wesley Lamberson of Russellville won the individual category, while Kaylee Bishop and Madison Woodall of Melbourne earned the top prize in the team category.

Thirty-four entries from across Arkansas participated in the preliminary round of the 2022 ATU College of Business High School Challenge. Each presented a plan to create a new business or expand an existing one. Twelve finalists advanced to the final round of competition, which was conducted in the Doc Bryan Student Services Center Lecture Hall at ATU.

The finalists had five minutes each to present their ideas. They subsequently answered questions from Michael Allinson, financial advisor for Edward Jones; Ronda Hawkins, director of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center regional office at ATU; and Dr. Stephen Jones, professor of management in the ATU College of Business. Allinson, Hawkins and Jones served as judges for the competition.

Business ideas and student presenters were evaluated on factors such as organization, marketing, efficiency of resource acquisition, potential for profitability and professionalism.

Lamberson’s business idea, Mobile Makeover, would center around a bus that could be ordered for oneself or a friend in order to provide on-demand beauty services.

“You go inside, you get all dolled up, it makes you feel better about yourself and it can make your whole day,” said Lamberson. “Instead of giving flowers or a gift for someone’s birthday, you can get them a makeover. I thought it would be a fun idea to give to someone who is having an off day. I always feel better when I get dressed up, so I thought this would be a good way to share that. This project helped me understand the finances and marketing aspects of business.”

Lamberson credited her Russellville High School business teacher, Desha Lewis, for helping her develop her idea and identify her passion for graphic design as a result of working on the Mobile Makeover project.

Bishop and Woodall’s business idea, Stick It, endeavors to improve school spirit through the development and sale of customized stickers.

“There’s not a business that offers these items for our school, so this is a convenient and affordable option for our students,” said Woodall. “It was a great learning experience to see everyone else’s projects so we can go back and make ours even better.”

Cheryl Seay, business teacher at Melbourne High School, said Bishop and Woodall conducted surveys to research details such as pricing for their products.

“Our product helps students express themselves and their school pride,” said Bishop. “There’s a lot that goes into starting a business. Even the marketing is pretty tough.”

Students from Dardanelle, Rison, Mayflower, Mount Saint Mary Academy in Little Rock and Mountain Home also reached the finals of the 2022 ATU College of Business High School Challenge.

Pope County Farm Bureau and Textbook Brokers of Russellville served as sponsors for the event.

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