Gillespie Business Plan Competition

Marquee Event for the Academic Year

The marquee event for the academic year is the Edwin C. Gillespie Business Plan Competition, held at the end of the spring semester. The 2023 Gillespie is going to be held in person at Jackson Avenue Center on April 21, 2023.

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Priority Deadline: March 10, 2023

The first 10 student teams who enter by March 10 will have the chance to receive an additional $250 in funding if they pitch on April 21 and also enter the Landshark Tank Pitch Competition. They will be automatically considered for the CIE Discovery Grant.

Final Deadline: March 31, 2023

Everyone who enters has the opportunity to pitch. Check out the rules and the Eligibility Requirements to learn more!

Once your entries are submitted, you will be connected with our CIE mentors who will help you develop your idea and presentation.

Prizes (see Prize Rules for more information)

  • 1st place: $15,000 + office space at Insight Park
  • 2nd place: $5,000
  • Four runners-up: $1,250 each

Entry into the Gillespie is also the gateway for the following awards:

  1. W. Thomas Colbert-Community Bank Innovation Award – a $5,000 prize awarded to the outstanding Gillespie team driven by innovation in a product, process or service through the application or development of a technological change;
  2. Lynn and Ron Samuels Student Entrepreneur Award – a $5,000 prize awarded to a student entrepreneur team who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit through a venture driven by innovation in a product, process or service;
  3. Stephen E. Rowell Entrepreneur Award – a $5,000 prize awarded to a student entrepreneur venture team or individual, who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit through a venture driven by innovation in a product, process or service.
  4. GenTeal Apparel Consumer-facing Award – a $5,000 prize awarded to a student entrepreneur venture team who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit through a venture driven by the Best Consumer-facing Business Concept (e.g., retail shop, restaurant, bakery, apparel);
  5. Edward G. Francis, Sr. Entrepreneur Award – a $2,500 prize awarded to a student entrepreneur venture team or individual, who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit through a venture driven by innovation in a product, process or service with knowledge of upcoming financial needs through financial analysis.

The judging panel for the annual Gillespie Business Plan Competition will determine the winners.

Past Gillespie Winners

  • 2022  Rumie – Tanner McCraney, Patrick Phillips, Sam Pennock & Carson Zylicz
  • 2021   Froomie – Brea Givens
  • 2020  DaisNotes – Nicholas Neilson-Slabach & Kyle Herbert
  • 2019   Move Fitness – Jake Harrison & Tyler Moore
  • 2018   ShortWork – Will Tribble & Sam Harres
  • 2017    Collegiate Tutoring – Lee Ingram
  • 2016    Curtsy – Sara Kiparizoska & William Ault
  • 2015    Nippy Pumps – Tameka Wilson
  • 2014    Cotton’s Café Dog Treat Bakery – Janet McCarty
  • 2013    Isabel Thomas Designs – Taylor Isabel Thomas
  • 2012    Utah Raptor Games – Ryan Rigney
  • 2011    EOS – Ryan Andrews
  • 2010   HRinnovations.com – Jack Smothers
  • 2009   Fantastic Flatware – Jennifer Harjes
  • 2008   AussieDealz.com – Joshua Stelzer
  • 2007   Middle Tennessee Times – Parul Bajaj, Mary Grace Bratschi, Erin Dickey, Anjali  Pahwa, Karah Shelly
  • 2006   SoberCycles – Brent McHenry, Ashley Sullivan, Monica Evans, Courtney Gregory
  • 2005   CTS Consulting – David Shields & Virginia Turnage

Past W. Thomas Colbert-Community Bank Innovators

  • 2022  4rmCast – Tereza Janatova
  • 2021   Rolling Thunder – Tristan Daily, Noah McKone, Jake Smith & Owen Barry
  • 2020  DataBrace – Tereza Janatova & Matthew Currie
  • 2019   Crystal Game Works – Kaylin Brassfield

Past Lynn and Ron Samuels Student Entrepreneurs

  • 2022  Jay Marquis  – Jhalen Wells
  • 2021   Froomie – Brea Givens
  • 2020  Vaught It – Maverick McSparin & Kathryn Bickerstaff

Past Stephen E. Rowell Entrepreneurs

  • 2022  Rumie – Tanner McCraney, Patrick Phillips, Sam Pennock & Carson Zylicz
  • 2021   HoopAtlanta – Jordan Wyton

The endowment for the competition was provided in honor of Edwin C. Gillespie in 2006, a 1943 business administration graduate. His widow, Jean Gillespie, and brother, Joe Gillespie, a 1950 liberal arts graduate, helped establish the endowment to assist students in promoting concepts in entrepreneurship.

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