On Thursday 1st December Georgia Southern University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership held its stadium pitch competition for the students in the MGNT 3234 Entrepreneurship class. Jim Williams the Chair of the Center’s Advisory Council and tutor on the class commented, “We’ve been doing this course structure for a few years and the stadium pitch for the last few semesters. I have to say the students did an excellent job this semester and were extremely well prepared”. The stadium pitch is somewhat similar to an elevator pitch but is based on Chet Holmes’s concept. The idea invites students to imagine entering the Paulsen Stadium which is full with the perfect prospects for their venture. The students then have five minutes to pitch their concept but there is a twist. As soon as the students start anybody in the stadium can walk out. The objective is to ensure the audience stays as long as possible, by hooking them with a problem and presenting the solution.
Student teams presented a whole range of concepts this year including:
- White Route – regularly scheduled off-campus shuttle services
- Eage Eye – a smart app for 911 assistance on a bracelet armed with a notification button
- iScore Golf – a smart app for golfers that enables multiple players to keep up with everyone’s score in real time
- Your Road to Success – an app that enables Georgia Southern students to receive updates on their graduation plan
- Wine Shine Light – using recycled bottles as light fixtures
- Desserts Galore to Your Door – home delivery of fressed baked desserts
- Twist it Up – an invention providing a creative way of dispensing food products
- Potastic – an invention for stirring/pouring hot food prepared in open pots
Thank you to our judges Ellwood Ivey Jr., Butch Parrish and Tim Redding.
On the 3rd of November, the Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership Advisory Council Chair – Jim Williams’ Entrepreneurship classes had presentations by two entrepreneurs: Tim Redding and Lynn Lilly.
Mr. Redding was the first to speak to the students. Among many businesses he currently owns, are several automobile dealerships including: Metter Ford, Dealership in Metter; Swainsboro Ford – Lincoln in Swainsboro and Dublin Ford – Lincoln in Dublin. He started the presentation telling the students that every entrepreneur faces a lot of challenges, if you find your way to overcome these challenges you will be successful. Mr. Redding started working at 18 years old. Once an opportunity to work at a car dealership in Savannah came up, he accepted it. After showing his entrepreneurial skills by selling a huge amount of cars, he was invited to be the store manager, which he accepted. He advised the students to always work hard and do the best you can. In 3 years the profits of the store quadrupled. However, Mr. Redding wanted more and decided to open his own store. In 1991, the Metter Ford dealership opportunity became available. He explained to the students that after going through all the steps required by Ford Motor Company, it was easier to manage his own store. He mentioned that even though entrepreneurs have to work hard, you can do it at your own pace, choose the area that you want to work on and select the people you wish to have in your organization and mentor them toward success. He finished his talk by telling the students to know what they want to do in the future and practice, practice and practice and become knowledgeable about whatever they choose to do.
The 2nd entrepreneur was Lynn Lilly, from The Lilly Group, an advertising and marketing communications consultancy now based in Statesboro. At Georgia Southern University, she is an Entrepreneurial Fellow of the Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership, on the Advisory Board of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and a member of the Community Advisory Board of the Department of Writing and Linguistics. She graduated from Muskingum College. Ms. Lilly worked two decades for an $85million company marketing and communications in Cleveland, Ohio becoming one of the youngest owners and the youngest vice-president. In 2001, after acquiring enough experience, she decided to start her own company, The Lilly Group. She works in advertising, public relations, web writing, direct marketing, blogging, speech writing and whatever else clients need — for clients in consumer goods, transportation, education, home furnishings, banking, consumer goods and technology sectors. She started her speech talking about her background and then telling the students that in order to succeed; ‘it is not what you want to sell, it is what the customers want to buy’. She said you cannot only be creative, you have to create a solution to a problem and be creative at the same time. Ms. Lilly told the students to know what they are good at and focus on that. She also told the students that if they start a business not to spend money on things they do not need. For example, if you really do not need an office then do not buy one, work out of your home or in a lower cost leased space. She finished the presentation by saying: “It is always about the customer and NOT about you”.
The students in both classes asked many questions of Mr. Redding and Ms. Lilly.
Jim Williams, the Chair of the Advisory Council for the Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership hosted two important entrepreneurial guests in his classes on Tuesday November 9th. Both guests were friends of Jim Williams who invited them to spend the day on campus.
(Pictured from left to right Dr. Luke Pittaway, William A. Freeman Distinguished Chair in Free Enterprise, Jim Williams, Chair of CEL&L Advisory Council, Tim Redding, Ron Shiffler, Dean of COBA and Billy Crider Jr.)
Tim Redding a native of Savannah is the President and Owner of: Metter Ford, Swainsboro Ford/Lincoln/Mercury and Dublin Ford/Lincoln/Mercury.
Tim’s emphasis to the students was to focus on doing your best at the job you are on and not be distracted into thinking about your next move or job and to not be climbing over or going through your fellow workers just for your advancement.. He did not become an entrepreneur overnight but over a series of years that helped build his experience and know how to successfully operate Ford Motor Company dealerships. Other than his first entrepreneur start, his 30 years of growth has occurred without any partners. He concluded with reminding the students to always do their best on their current job and to always share the objective/goal with your team so all will know the bulls’ eye you are aiming for.
Billy Crider, Jr., is from Douglas, Georgia and serves as Chairman, Founder & CEO, Crider, Inc. He has been a long time supporter of College of Business Administrative and provides the largest monetary award given to the outstanding professor of the year.
Billy shared his 50 years of learning experience in the business world including his solely owned Crider, Inc. a food processing company with 600 employees he started in Stillmore in 1965. During his career he has had partners in other businesses and each one resulted in success for him and them.
He told stories about the successes his 6 college roommates achieved. The common aspect of all was that each one was doing something they enjoyed. Their success was not measured by the amount of money they generated but the win/win aspect of their chosen field. He ended by saying if you need to make $1 then have a plan for making $3 because the circumstances or conditions will always change.
The students in both classes had good questions for discussion with both Billy Crider and Tim Redding and enjoyed the ideas shared with them.
We are most appreciative of their taking the time from their busy schedules to be with our Entrepreneurship classes.