For the second year in a row, the Arkansas Governor’s Cup collegiate business plan competition was a virtual affair. But teams representing schools across Arkansas brought their “A” games, anyway. The format for the 2021 event was changed to include two new divisions — small business and high growth/innovation. Previous events had been divided into graduate and undergraduate divisions.
Teams from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, took home top prizes in both divisions. Nivera Solutions won first place in the high growth/innovation category and the $25,000 cash prize that went it. The UA’s Simple + Sweet Creamery won the small business category and its own $15,000 cash prize.
Other winners in in high growth/innovation were the UA’s ReGen Technologies, second place ($15,000), and Harding University’s Balance Mark, third place ($10,000). Other winners in the small business division were Christ Light Apparel from Central Baptist College, second place ($10,000), and Apollo from the Arkansas School for Math and Sciences in Hot Springs ($5,000).
Elevator-pitch winners from the virtual ceremony held April 8 were the UA’s Green Greens in the high growth/innovation division and Small Talks from the School of Math and Sciences in the small business division. Cash prizes for the pitch winners included $2,000 for team members and $2,500 for faculty advisors.
This year’s winners were selected from a group 12 finalists in each category. Six finalists teams represented the UA, two represented the School for Math and Sciences, two represented Arkansas Tech, and one team each represented Harding and Central Baptist.
The Governor’s Cup competition has been administered by Arkansas Capital Corporation since its launch in 2001. More than 2,900 Arkansas college and university students have competed, submitting more than 900 business plans. This year, 31 teams of 88 students from seven Arkansas institutions competed.
The $100,000 in cash prizes awarded to this year’s winners was provided by title sponsor Dhu Thompson and Revolution Bag of Little Rock.
Small Business Division
First Place ($15,000)
Simple + Sweet Creamery — University of Arkansas
Second Place ($10,000)
Christ Light Apparel — Central Baptist College, Conway
Third Place ($5,000)
Apollo — Arkansas School for Math, Sciences and the Arts, Hot Springs
High Growth / Technology Division
First Place ($25,000)
Nivera Solutions — University of Arkansas
Second Place ($15,000)
ReGen Technologies — University of Arkansas
Third Place ($10,000)
Balance Mark — Harding University, Searcy