Business plan

Applications open for the Gillespie Business Plan Competition

UM students Jake Harrison (left) and Tyler Moore explain their concept of Move Fitness to judges at the 2019 Gillespie Business Plan Competition. Move Fitness went on to win the competition’s top prize. Organizers are accepting entries until March 28 for this year’s Gillespie Competition, which offers cash prizes, mentoring and other services to student entrepreneurs. Photo by Megan Wolfe/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Mississippi — The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Mississippi is accepting entries for its 18th annual Gillespie Business Plan Competition, scheduled for April 8 at the Jackson Avenue Center.

To apply for the competition, contestants must submit a brief form containing background information and a one-minute entry video demonstrating the problem they are solving and describing their target audience. The deadline for registration is March 28.

The contest runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each person who enters the competition will have the opportunity to submit an idea, said Tong Meng, director of programs at the center.

“We are thrilled to host the 18th Annual Gillespie Business Plan Competition in person,” Meng said. “As always, this competition is open to all current Ole Miss students. Take advantage of this incredible networking and funding opportunity to take your business to the next level.

Entrants compete to win a variety of prizes and recognition opportunities.

The overall winner of the competition will be awarded office space at Insight Park, provided the admission criteria are met for the incubator, as well as a check for $10,000 to the incorporated company.

The second place winner will receive a check for $5,000, distributed to the incorporated business. Four finalists will also be recognized with $1,000 deposited into their bursar accounts.

Other recognition opportunities include the Thomas W. Colbert-Community Bank Innovation Award, which includes a check for $5,000; the Lynn and Ron Samuels Prize for Student Entrepreneurs, valued at $5,000; and the Stephen E. Rowell Entrepreneur Award, $5,000.

Past winners include Froomie, an all-in-one platform that provides housing solutions to students and parents at their specific university, developed by Brea Givens, and Dais Notes, an aggregation platform that allows students to interact with other students in note sharing and other tutoring efforts, developed by Nicholas Neilson-Slabach and Kyle Herbert.

Tristan Daily, Noah McKone, Jake Smith and Owen Barry’s Rolling Thunder received the 2021 Thomas W. Colbert-Community Bank Innovators Award. The 2021 Lynn and Samuels Student Entrepreneurs Award also went to Froomie developer Brea Givens.

For more information on the Gillespie Business Plan Competition, visit or contact Tong Meng at [email protected]

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