Winners Named in 2015 Business Plan Competition at Columbus State

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Jessica Lester, an MBA student at Columbus State University and media consultant for the Ledger-Enquirer, took home first place and a $5,000 prize today in the 2015 Business Plan Competition sponsored by CSU’s Turner College of Business.

Lester’s winning business proposal detailed her plans to establish Georgia Craft, a new Columbus-based craft beer gastro pub, with partners Garrett Lawrence and Robert Battle, Lester’s husband. Lawrence and Battle are the owners of Maltitude, a local business that presently sells craft beer for off-premises consumption in Columbus, Georgia.

The second place winner in the Business Plan Competition was Bobby Matthews, a CSU business major who created Matthews Woodworking, a Troop County company specializing in the production of outdoor furniture. Third place went to CSU business students Shane and Greg Meshes for their proposal for Hidden Goat Farms, a business in Warm Springs that will sell goat’s milk and milk byproducts.

The winners were announced at a luncheon held today at the Columbus Country Club. The luncheon’s keynote speaker was John F. Flournoy, chairman and CEO of The Flournoy Companies, a regional construction and property management company.

“The key to building a successful business is your tenacity,” Flournoy told the competition winners.

Kirk Heriot, CSU’s Ray and Evelyn Crowley Endowed Chair for Entrepreneurship, launched the Business Plan Competition in 2010. The competition aims to promote entrepreneurship and development of startups, build bridges between the university and the Columbus area and encourage commercialization of promising ideas. Visit for more information about the competition.

[caption id="attachment_4794" align="aligncenter" width="698"](left to right) Bobby Matthews, 2nd place; Jessica Lester, 1st place; Greg Meshes and Shane Meshes, 3rd place (left to right) Bobby Matthews, 2nd place; Jessica Lester, 1st place; Greg Meshes and Shane Meshes, 3rd place[/caption]