Columbus State to Hold Second Business Plan Competition

Kirk HeriotCOLUMBUS, Ga. — For a second consecutive year, Columbus State University invites area high school and college students to compete in a business plan competition hosted by the Turner College of Business and Computer Science.

Though the entry deadline is April 2, 2012, "now is the time to start on a proposal," said competition director Kirk Heriot, CSU's Ray and Evelyn Crowley Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship.

Final presentations and award announcements are slated for late April, 2012. Area business owners and experts will comprise the panel of judges.


Cash prizes will apply to categories, as well as an overall, top prize, captured last year by a team of Columbus State MBA students. Rob Schwing, Yvonne Bryant and David Savage shared $4,500 for their proposed "College Concierge" software program targeting high students and their parents.

The new competition's prize amounts will be announced closer to the entry deadline.

"The real value of the competition lies in the experience," said Heriot, an associate professor of management. "Business plan development sharpens research and writing skills and instills an appreciation for the hard work and dedication necessary to start a business."

Heriot details the core elements of a business plan:

  • Business Concept Overview: Includes the business model and commercial viability of the given model.
  • Market Overview: Describes the market, including industry and competitive analysis, plus customer identification and discussion regarding ability to create barriers to entry and achieve sustainability.
  • Competitive Advantage: Describes how idea significantly differs from existing enterprises.
  • Resources: Identifies the human and capital resources required to execute the plan.
  • Financial Justification: How much annual revenue will your business generate? What costs will you incur to sell your product or service? What is the break-even point for the business?

The competition is open to students throughout the Chattahoochee Valley and of any academic background. Participants will have an opportunity to prepare themselves to identify and capitalize on an entrepreneurial opportunity further into their careers, said Heriot, who will give tutorial presentations on business plan writing, upon request, at high schools, as well as to CSU students.

Plus, any prospective entrant with questions can contact him at 706-562-1674 or

For more information, visit the competition website at

Heriot advises prospective competitors to study the Small Business Association's guidelines for writing a business plan at

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Hope this helps.

Diana Lomarcan
CSU Web Team