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Rules and Dates Set for 2020 Arkansas Governor’s Cup


by Tyler Hale

The dates have been set for the 20th annual Arkansas Governor’s Cup in 2020.

The collegiate business plan competition officially launches in January 6, 2020, and the award luncheon will be held April 9 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Students from approximately 15 colleges and universities will compete for recognition and monetary prizes in the competition.

Registration for the Governor’s Cup opens on Jan. 6. To register, click here.

Business plans are due by Feb. 16, and the semi-finalists and finalists will be announced by the end of day on Feb. 28. Competitors will make oral presentations at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce on March 19-20. The winners will be revealed on April 9 at the awards luncheon.

To compete, competitors must be a full- or part-time student at any accredited two or four-year college or university, either public or private. Students must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program summer/fall 2019, and/or 2020 spring semesters.

Teams are allowed to be composed of graduate and undergraduate students, although teams with mixed graduate-undergraduates must compete in the graduate division.

See the full list of regulations here.

For the competition, teams must develop a new venture that is in the “seed, startup or early growth stages” that must not have received more than $200,000 in equity-related capital or generated more than $100,000 in revenue prior to the academic year.

In total, the Governor’s Cup offers $154,000 in cash prizes. This year, the first place-winning teams in the undergraduate and graduate divisions will receive $25,000 each. The second and third-place teams in both divisions will receive $15,000 and $10,000 each, respectively.

Dhu Thompson of Little Rock’s DMTG Group will serve as the 2020 Governor’s Cup Title Sponsor for the cash prize pool. Thompson has served as the title sponsor for three consecutive years, and previously, his company Delta Plastics (which he sold in 2019) was the sponsor from 2009-2016.

“When the Governor’s Cup started 20 years ago, the goal was to showcase new ideas coming from eager Arkansas college students who wanted to seize an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship and win significant cash awards for their efforts. That goal has certainly been met,” Thompson said in a statement. “I could not be more proud to continue title sponsorship of the competition. Innovation and creative ideas continue to flow from our college campuses and the Governor’s Cup is an outstanding incentive to give students a chance to take these ideas to possible commercialization, while at the same time showing them Arkansas is a fantastic place to do business.”

Although the Governor’s Cup is business plan competition as opposed to a business incubator, the competition has generated multiple notable Arkansas companies and startups. Past competitors include businesses such as Picasolar, Watt Glass, Lapovations, iProv and more.

READ MORE: ASBTDC Launching New Early Stage Business Accelerator

Check out 2019 Arkansas Startups magazine:

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