Xavier won the Ford HBCU Business Plan Competition
The four XU team members - Brenton Combre, a sophomore business major from Houston, Texas (Strake Jesuit High); Brandon Leach, a senior accounting major from Marrero, La. (Ehret High); Jovan Smith, a junior business major from New Orleans (Warren Easton High); and Johnnie Wilson III, a senior biology major from Helen Island, S.C. (Beaufort High) presented their business plan, "One Source Realty, LLC: Offers Affordable Housing for Renters and Home Buyers in the New Orleans Area, Post-Katrina," in front of a panel of prestigious entrepreneurs during the Annual Conference for the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) in Washington, D.C.
They bested teams from Howard University, Florida A&M University, Morehouse College and Spelman College in the finals to claim $50,000 in scholarship prizes.
According to faculty moderator Dr. Louis Mancuso, professor of business and the Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship, the students developed the business plan in his Introduction to Entrepreneurship class last semester and submitted the 10-page document to the Ford HBCU Business Classic Web site. The plan included the required five key elements: type of business, product service, pricing considerations, target market, competition and general operations.
The original nationwide competition was open to HBCU students nationwide and more than 80 percent of the nation's HBCU's made submissions. Initial business plans were judged by a panel from SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business." Using overall presentation, its viability and overall benefit to the community as their criteria, SCORE narrowed the competition down to the five teams that were chosen to advance to the finals in Washington, D.C.
It was the second year in a row that a team of Xavier students had advanced into the finals of the annual Ford HBCU Business Plan Competition, an event designed to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship among students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.