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. Applications are due March 28, 2021. Check out the rules to learn more!

The initial deadline for the Gillespie Business Plan requires you to enter with the simple online application form.  Give us all the details you have. Tell the judges if you know how you will make money, how you will produce, why your customers will love your product.

Once all the entries are submitted, we will invite all participants to a series of workshops and a venture launch weekend event, so that they have an opportunity to develop their idea and presentation. Everyone who enters has the opportunity to pitch.

Entry into the Gillespie is also the gateway for the W. Thomas Colbert-Community Bank Innovation Award, a $5000 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, as well as the Lynn and Ron Samuels Student Entrepreneur Award, also a $5000 prize awarded to a student entrepreneur team who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit through a venture driven by innovation in a product, process or service.

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


Past Gillespie Winners

  • 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  —  Jack Smothers
  • 2009   Fantastic Flatware  —  Jennifer Harjes
  • 2008  —  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


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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