Article By Bob Qualls
A post-grad baseball program, a golf club warmer and a hemp farming operation were among the ideas pitched by entrepreneurship students Tuesday, Dec. 10, in an Enactus business pitch competition on the campus of Lyon College.
Eight teams presented their ideas to an audience that included Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Batesville Parks Director Jeff Owens, area business owners and other students.
Dr. Angela Buchanan, assistant professor of business and economics at Lyon, is the Enactus chapter adviser.
The competition called “Pitch Slap” was the final presentation for Buchanan’s entrepreneurship class. Enactus hosted the event to serve as a model for future pitch competitions that would be open possibly to entrepreneurs in the Batesville area. If nothing else, the entrepreneurship class will present business pitches next fall as the final class project. Jake Wilson served as host for the evening. Demio Enterprises and Shadrach’s Coffee were the top pitches.
Among the ideas pitched were:
• Post-Grad Baseball – Ryan Lewis, Rease Kinley, Mekhi Malvo-McFall and Kylan Barnett explained that the program would provide a second chance for high school baseball players to continue the sport without losing a year of eligibility. They said that of the thousands of high school baseball players, only 11.5 percent go on to play ball at the college level.
Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., the one-year program would allow recent high school graduates to continue to hone their skills before they begin their college careers. They said there would be five competitors in the U.S., but that Post-Grad Baseball would be $4,000 less expensive than the competition. The business would be financed by a bank loan that would be paid back by tuition and fees charged the participants.
• Stiff Stix – Mitch Cannon and Tomas Mariscotti, both members of the Lyon golf team, pitched the idea of a battery-powered golf grip warmer. The device, similar to a heating pad, would be wrapped around the club and fastened in place by Velcro. This would keep the grip warm for golfers in colder climates. There are 60 million golfers in the world, and there would be no direct competition. Cannon, the owner, said the business would be based in Jonesboro. The device would cost $13.50 per unit, and he estimated sales of 60,000 units in the first year. The first step would be having a prototype designed and built.
• J.P.T. Hemp Farming – Tyler Vanlandingham, Peyton Noland, Joseph Mahe and Josh Sierra proposed a private farm operation in northern Arkansas to grow hemp. Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that is grown specifically for its industrial uses. One of the fastest growing plants, it can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, rope and animal feed.
The Arkansas Legislature legalized the growing of hemp in 2017 but licenses must be obtained from the Arkansas State Plant Board. Once they obtain a license, J.P.T. would lease land and equipment for the farming operation. It would be financed by a $400,000 bank loan.
• Demio Enterprises – Pitched by Josh Settimio, Josh Abel and Jake Wilson, Demio Enterprises is a marketing and consulting enterprise that would offer web design, branding and large and small event planning. In their presentation, they described Batesville as both historic and progressive. They want to become a liaison to Impact Independence, the strategic planning initiative. They also want to help establish an entrepreneur incubator program.
• NLine, LLC – Zac Lilly, Sam Taylor and Jacob Reithemeyer presented an idea for an application that would use contractors to wait in line for customers who use the app. There are similar companies but they are located in New York City and Los Angeles and do not market in most of the country. Not only would the app connect customers with those who would stand in line for them, but it also would have a “marketplace” feature showing customers new release dates, prices and deals. It also would have an NLine Guard feature that would connect customers with contractors who would serve as bodyguards and security guards.
• JAB Entertainment – Andrew Hyde, Bruce Whitehead and John Bentley pitched the idea of bar and restaurant that would offer various entertainment activities similar to Dave and Buster’s. It would have an arcade, billiards, mini-golf and other activities. The proposed location would be in Independence Square between JC Penney Co. and Harbor Freight. The competition would be movie theaters, bowling alley, and the Batesville Community Center. The estimated start-up cost is $500,000 to $2 million. Estimated revenue is $40,000 a month.
• Shadrachs Coffee Roasting Co. – Zac Stewart, Clark Thornton and Dennis Maxwell proposed opening a branch of the coffee roasting and sales company located in Jonesboro. Stewart described the proposed location as a small structure similar to a food truck that would be on Myers Street behind Colton’s Steak House.
• AMF Bowling – Presented by Hannah Stucky, Karina Chavez, Destiny Nunez and Lilly Lopez.
Enactus is an international organization that connects students with academic and business leaders through entrepreneurial-based projects. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement entrepreneurial projects. The experience helps students develop the talent and perspective that are essential to leadership in a challenging world.