Barton Innovation Competition Finals: Live from the Edna E. Boykin Cultural Center on April 21

WILSON, N.C. — April 15, 2015 — Come watch the Barton Innovation Competition Finals “live from the Edna E. Boykin Cultural Center” on Tuesday, April 21, at 7 p.m. This “shark tank style” event will feature three divisions: Community Outreach, Small Business Opportunities, and New Venture Creation. Plan to come early for a “Meet and Greet” reception with Barton student participants beginning at 6:30 p.m. And, keep in mind that as attendance for the event increases, so do the number of prizes for audience members. For every 10 attendees at the event, a gift card will be awarded to a member of the audience; gift cards range from $10 to $100. This event is open to the public free of charge, and the community is invited to attend.

Individuals and teams will have three minutes each to pitch their idea to the judges, followed by a five-minute Q&A session. Finalist teams in each division will vie for first, second, third, and fourth place awards.

The first round for participants began earlier this semester in February. Barton students from any academic discipline were invited to submit a one-page proposal for a product or service/business-based project with a focus on benefitting the Wilson community.

From that first round, 20 semi-finalists were chosen to move to the next round. Ten student teams in the Community Outreach division moved forward in competition as did five student teams in the Small Business division, and five student teams in New Venture division.

Semi-finalists were given the book “Business Model Generation” by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, as well as stipends funded by James Maynard, founder and chairman of Investors Management Corporation, and co-founder and chairman of Golden Corral Corporation, to further develop their innovation model for the next round of competition. The “Business Model Generation” became the students’ toolkit and provided the framework from which they developed their innovation model proposal.

April 10 was the deadline for all submissions by the semi-finalists, and the finalists were selected this past weekend to move into the final round of the competition. The cadre of judges selected for this competition hail from the Wilson community. From the semi-finalists, 11 students were chosen to compete in the final round.

First-place winners in each division will receive $2,500, second-place winners will receive $1,000, third-place winners will receive $500, and fourth-place winners will receive $250, guaranteeing that all finalists will receive some funding to help move their innovation project proposal toward fruition.

Should a tie occur among the judges during the final-round deliberations following the presentations, the audience will have a chance to break the tie to determine the winners.

Finalists in the Community Outreach division include:

  1. Tia Broady from Atlanta, Ga., a sophomore double majoring in criminology & criminal justice and biology, will present a proposal focusing on homeless teenage mothers.
  2. Omar Gonzalez from Havelock, a freshman double majoring in business administration and sport management, will present a proposal focusing on an effort to encourage non-documented Latino students to attend college.
  3. Allison Dellinger from Durham, a senior theatre major, and Luisa Torres from Wilson, a sophomore mass communications major, teamed up for “The Just Write Project,” which focuses on establishing a group of like-minded, writing enthusiasts who want to create and publish literary works.
  4. Jorge Pradilla from Bogota, Colombia, a senior double majoring in sport management and business management, and Rafael Ruiz from Madrid, Spain, a junior double majoring in accountancy and business administration, have focused their proposal on implementing a special program for teachers to assist them in working with students who have ADD and ADHD.

Finalists in the Small Business Opportunities division include:

  1. Charles Hyde from Elsternwick, Australia, a freshman majoring in business administration, and Pierre Tang-Taye from La Montagne, South Africa, a sophomore majoring in business administration, have teamed up to focus on a proposal for an indoor sand athletic facility for the sport of volleyball. Clayton Stakes from Wilson, a senior majoring in business management, will present a proposal for dog park/exercise playground for owners to take their pets for agility training.
  2. Gabriel Farris from Wilson, a freshman majoring in business administration, will present a proposal for a coffee shop that utilizes a web-based application to receive and process orders and complete deliveries for downtown Wilson.
  3. Theresa Scott from Smithfield, a junior majoring in art & design, and Donovan Woods from Clayton, a senior majoring in art & design, have teamed up to focus their proposal on the utilization of vacant commercial properties in downtown Wilson for temporary student-run art studios and galleries that would also showcase the properties for potential future renters or buyers.

Finalists in the New Venture Creation division include:

  1. Pradilla and Ruiz have teamed up for a second proposal entry that focuses on an application for students that uses a smart phone to scan and highlight text.
  2. Arthur Meredith from Fuquay-Varina, a junior majoring in sport management and business management will present a proposal that focuses on a robotic lawnmower, which uses GPS to determine the specific areas of a lawn to be mowed and when the process will occur.
  3. Victoria Jordan from Benson, a junior nursing major, will present a proposal that focuses on a smart phone application linking customers and vendors together in Wilson for a variety of services, utilizing the bartering system for a variety of products and services.

“There has been strong interest and great participation for this inaugural Innovation Competition at Barton. I look forward to this program growing exponentially in the years ahead,” shared Dr. Kevin Renshler, dean of the School of Business at Barton College. “The Barton Innovation Competition provides an excellent opportunity for Barton students across all disciplines to develop creative and original ideas and then take them to the next level. This competition allows students to learn firsthand how to create business models and action plans that can eventually be used to impact the community in which they live, study, and work.”

For additional information about this event, please contact Dr. Renshler at 252-399-6630 or