A team of graduate and undergraduate students from Southern Polytechnic State University won first place this week in a business plan competition at the Georgia Social Business and Microcredit Forum, which involved 37 teams from 36 colleges and universities state-wide.
The forum’s keynote speaker was Dr. Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the microcredit concept, who presented the top award to SPSU for having developed a plan for a workable business to address a critical social issue.
The SPSU team created Restoration Trust, a microlending organization offering low-interest loans to help battered women get on their feet and reshape their lives.
“Our students did a wonderful job in the three short weeks they had to put together a business plan and presentation," said Dr. Zvi Szafran, vice president for academic affairs, in a news release.
Sonal Doshi, a student in the Master of Science in Accounting program, and Fred Arnold, an MBA student, presented SPSU’s business plan in two rounds of competition judged by the leaders of companies such as the Kimberly Clark Corporation, Starbucks, PayPal, Church’s Chicken, the Intel Corporation and Motorola.
The rest of the student team included: Lauren Tyus, an honors student in the Bachelor of Science in Accounting program; James Fulghum, BSA; Joelle Day, MSA; Arthur Vaughn, MSA; Christopher Estrada, MBA; Rebecca Stringer, MBA; Sana Yasmeen, a high school, dual-enrollment student; and Tiane McKay, a student in the Bachelor of Apparel and Textiles program.
Their faculty advisors were: Don Ariail, associate professor of accounting; Greg Quinet, assistant professor of management; Joyce McGriff, associate professor of marketing; and Sandra Vasa-Sideris, professor of management.
The University System of Georgia organized this week’s forum in collaboration with a number of other state agencies.