Here is a brief look at some of the recent news stories that featured Neeley students, staff and faculty. For a complete look at Neeley in the News, check out In the News Archives.

Strathclyde logo
April 1, 2013
Students head to US for entrepreneurial competition

A team of five students from the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship have been selected to take part in the Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition at the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center at TCU, Texas, in the US in April.

The students are taking the New Venture Creation class as part of the BA in Business Enterprise offered by the Hunter Centre. Over 20 business ideas were presented at a trade show event on February 18 run as part of the BA Business Enterprise’s New Venture Creation class. After several lengthy debates, the Revive team emerged victorious as having the “best idea” with their idea for recycling coffee grounds for both large coffee chains and smaller independents.

They will head off to Texas for the competition which runs over April 19 and 20 with lecturer Dominic Chalmers from the Hunter Centre. The invitation-only competition has run since 2011 and was set up with the support of businesswomen Nancy Tartaglino Richards and Lisa Barrentine who believe in making money while creating meaning. In its inaugural year, just six schools were invited to participate but the competition has grown in both prestige and size, in 2012, welcoming teams from 22 universities in 2012.

Head of the Hunter Centre, Professor Sara Carter, said, “I’m delighted that Strathclyde was invited to participate in this prestigious student competition. All four of the finalist groups were very worthy, but the winning idea combined imagination and practicality. We wish the Revive team all the best for their participation at the international competition in Texas. Dominic Chalmers will be accompanying the students and providing on-site mentoring and support as the students compete against other international student groups.”

 Dominic added, “The trip to Texas will let the future generation of Scottish entrepreneurs compete against the best in America. I am confident they will hold their own.”

 Rachael Reid, on behalf of Team Revive - which comprises Rachael, Scott Kennedy, Fergus Moore, Christie Murphy and Rebecca Richardson - said, “We are all so proud to be representing Strathclyde in Texas and can’t thank our lecturers and peers enough for their continuous support. The standard of ideas throughout the class was so high this year, we were up against some brilliant, innovative ideas. The groups’ ideas were excellently presented and obviously had a lot of time and effort put into it them.

“We’re very thankful for this exciting opportunity and are going to do our best to bring back another award to add to Strathclyde’s endeavours. We hope to do our University and peers proud!”

Star Telegram
April 13, 2013
Shoppers abandon Penney’s in droves  - By Barry Shlachter

A shopper strode out of J.C. Penney at Ridgmar mall without making a purchase because it didn’t have what she was seeking at the Sephora makeup counter.

“I used to come a lot but not now. Actually I wasn’t thrilled with the changes. They’re ending coupons and I cut up my Penney’s credit card when they started using Ellen DeGeneres” as a celebrity endorser, said the Springtown resident, who identified herself only as Connie. “I’m very conservative.”

Like other once-loyal Penney’s customers, Connie was turned off by abrupt changes implemented by Ron Johnson, the chain’s CEO of 17 months who was sacked last week after annual sales dropped 25 percent at stores open at least a year.

Before recently backpedaling, Johnson cut way back on coupons and promotions in favor of everyday low prices, and began filling its 1,100 outlets with branded mini-stores like Joe Fresh, many of them youth-oriented.

Business students at Southern Methodist University who recently surveyed Penney customers found that some were alienated by the changes, the loss of coupons -- even though they’ve been brought back -- and the feeling that it was no longer “their” store, said Ed Fox, a marketing professor at SMU’s Cox School of Business. “They were put off by the changes and they found it difficult to find things.”

Fox noted that Johnson did away with coupons and promotions -- which was easy and cost nothing -- long before he fully implemented his ambitious “shop in shops” concept, so there was nothing to attract customers.

“He got the order wrong,” the SMU professor said. “Why come? Where was the refreshed merchandise?”

Traditional Penney shoppers deserted the chain in droves.

“Ron had many good ideas but he alienated people, both customers and long-time employees,” said Allen Questrom, who was Penney’s CEO in 2000-04.

“He knew what he wanted Penney’s to be in a grand scheme. The problem was he didn’t test any of the strategies. And he neglected his customers’ issues and gave up what they came to your store for,” Questrom said, noting that Johnson dropped more than 400 suppliers and brought in new ones. “God only knows if they’ll come back.”

While retailing’s entire midmarket is shrinking, two major Penney’s competitors -- Macy’s and Dillard’s -- saw same-store sales rise 3.7 percent and 4 percent respectively in the last fiscal year, as they lured customers with promotions and, in the case of Macy’s, had strong online sales.

So where have Penney’s customers gone?

“Clearly Macy’s has been taking market share away from them and capitalizing on Penney’s problems,” said Robert Leone, a marketing professor at the Neeley School of Business at TCU. “And even Target, despite recent missteps, has improved in the market, offering fashionable items at good value.”

Fort Worth-based retail consultant Vic Gallese expressed surprise that competitors in the midmarket category -- which along with Macy’s include Kohl’s, Dillard’s and Belk -- hadn’t grabbed even more business.

“I would have thought 80 percent of Penney’s loss would be picked up by the major rivals,” Gallese said. “But the midmarket consumer has drifted off -- either upstream or downstream.”

He figured they got 50 percent, while dollar stores and extreme discounters like Ross and Marshall’s got much of the rest.

“And I don’t know if they’ll come back to Penney’s even if they start doing everything right,” Gallese said, referring to the new leadership headed by Myron Ullman, Johnson’s predecessor who was reinstalled as CEO of the Plano-based chain.

Ann Marie Bishop, a Penney spokeswoman, said Ullman plans to meet with various stakeholders, including customers and suppliers, to assess the problems and develop a plan of action. She said he would evaluate the “shops” concept implemented by Johnson to see whether changes need to be made, but she stressed that coupons and sales are back to stay.

“We now understand that customers are motivated by promotions and prefer to receive discounts through sales and coupons applied at the checkout,” she said. Making Penney’s task harder is the widening wealth gap in America, where income distribution “looks more like a developing country than a developed one,” according to a recent study by Kantar Retail and PwC. Moreover, the United States is the only major developed economy where income classes define the retail channel -- the “haves” gravitating toward upscale department stores and specialty supermarkets while the “have-nots” patronize conventional supermarkets and deep-discount chains.

Ever more shoppers are falling into the “have-not” category, defined as those who are having a tougher time bouncing back from the recession and are “likely to remain a core challenge to retailers,” the study said.

“Our consumer market is becoming more polarized,” said Al Meyers, a Dallas-based consultant with PwC, formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers. “By 2020, 75 percent all income will be going to 40 percent of households, with the remaining 25 percent going to the have-nots.”

None of this makes it easier for Penney’s to recover.

“Post-2008, many argue that the hollowing out of the middle class has continued, meaning there are fewer and fewer customers for midmarket stores,” said Bruce Clark, who teaches marketing at the Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business. “People are either migrating upmarket to Macy’s and Nordstrom’s or down market to Target and Wal-Mart.”

Schoolteacher Danny Knowles and his wife drove over to Penney’s at Ridgmar last week.

“We’re here because we got a coupon,” said Knowles, who explained that they don’t collect coupons, hadn’t missed them when Johnson cut back on the offers and would have come to Penney anyway. “They have decent variety and good prices.”

In the end, his wife, also a schoolteacher, made no purchases, but he picked up a few shirts and undershirts, totaling $56 after the 20 percent discount from the coupon.

“Aesthetically, it was a better experience than before,” the English teacher said. “What was lacking was customer service. There was really no one close by to ask where the big and tall department was. I eventually found someone but she didn’t know.”

Together, they eventually found Foundry Supply, Penney’s private brand big and tall department. The chain laid off 30 percent of its staff during the downturn.

 Danny Knowles’ experience illustrates another challenge for Penney.

“As they let people go, they also brought people in for the mini-shops but they apparently aren’t trained out,” TCU’s Leone said.

“I think Penney’s future is going to be tough and an uphill battle,” he went on.

“The quicker they make the decision on what they want to be and launch a campaign to say who they are, the better their chances. It might just be admitting they lost their way and that the Penney’s you knew is back.”


FW BusinessPress  

April 14, 2013
Richards, Barrentine fund business plan competition with values component  - By Gail Bennison

Nancy RichardsThree years ago, real estate entrepreneur Nancy Tartaglino Richards, chairman of First Preston HT, donated substantial funding and commitment to help start a worldwide college entrepreneurship program. Her sole request? The program must teach college students how to make money, while giving back to the community. That’s how Values & Ventures was born.

 Endowed by Richards and Lisa Barrentine, Preston HT’s president and CEO, the third annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition is set for April 19-20 at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business. The competition brings student business teams from across the globe to Fort Worth with plans for profitable businesses that incorporate values, ethics and service. Thirty student teams from 30 universities will pitch 30 ventures to a panel of judges, most from companies and organizations in the Fort Worth area. Students are competing for $43,000 in cash prizes.

“I think that entrepreneurship needs to be fostered in every way at every level,” Richards said. “TCU mastered exactly what we wanted to do. Everyone there is so creative, smart and forward-thinking. I give much credit to TCU because they embraced our ideas and they found a way to sponsor this out of the business school to make such an impact, not only to the students, but to all of these communities. I just feel honored to be part of this program.”

For Homer Erekson, John V. Roach Dean of Neeley School of Business at TCU, the idea was a perfect fit for the university and business school. “Increasingly, business leaders are talking about values questions, so we want our students to be able to explore values and think about innovative ways to approach and apply values in their lives,” Erekson said.

“Our aspiration is to be a world-class value center university and business school,” Erekson said. “So, when we look at this program, or any program, we want to ask, ‘Is it consistent with the mission of the institution?’ No question that this is a very distinctive program, and that value-centered aspect hits the sweet spot, if you will, of the university and the business school as a whole, but frankly, also hits the core of business education nationally because of its values base.”

The competition also sets itself apart because it is one of the few undergraduate business competitions in the country, he said. “Most are MBA level programs. That also makes this distinctive, in combining for-profit businesses with the values,” says Erekson.

Richards herself is an entrepreneur, founding First Preston HT in 1988. First Preston HT has grown to become one of the largest residential asset management companies in the United States and has sold more than 400,000 single family homes with a total value of more than $40 billion. Richards also founded HomeTelos, a technology company specializing in online real estate sale and offer management with technology products generating 12 million hits per month.

Richards was recognized by Ernst & Young as their 2004 Southwest “Entrepreneur of the Year” for Real Estate/Construction/Hospitality and won its “National Entrepreneur of the Year Award” in 2005. That also figured into Richards’ support for the Values & Ventures idea.

“Being an entrepreneur, I know how difficult it is to start a new business and to get a new idea launched off the ground,” Richards said. “As we developed our business over the last 25 years, it really became apparent that we needed to support and mentor others. Lisa and I decided that if our company grew to be successful, it had to be more than just about money, because you give up so much of your quality of life when you strategically grow your business. We made a pact to give a certain percentage of our profits to charities. What we didn’t realize is how it would take on a life of its own.”

The philanthropic effort paid off in ways they didn’t expect.

“We found that others wanted to do business with us because of it. As a result, we thought we not only had to help other entrepreneurs in business, but also teach them how to be philanthropists at an early age,” said Richards. “That was the original idea we took to TCU. With their great leadership, in two weeks, we were off and running.”

While Richards is a Baylor University graduate, she has strong Horned Frog connections.

Her two sons graduated from TCU – one from the ranch management program, and one from the business school. Richards currently serves on TCU’s Board of Trustees.


FW BusinessPress

April 14, 2013
The Third Annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition  - Gail Bennison

The Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition focuses on for-profit enterprises that impact society in meaningful ways. Plans must demonstrate a societal or environmental need to be filled, as well as the profitability of the business. Thirty student teams from 30 universities pitch ideas for 30 ventures that change the world. The competition will be set up much like the TV show Shark Tank. Students will pitch what they think is the new idea, and investors will ask them tough, real world questions. The panels of judges are made up of entrepreneurs, investors, marketing and financial experts, venture capitalists, attorneys, accountants, and other business leaders.

Universities participating in the 2013 Richards Barrentine Values and Venture Business Plan Competition are:

U.S. Universities
Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C
Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Chapman University, Orange, Calif.
Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Va.
George Washington University, Washington D.C.
Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla.
Regis University, Denver, Colo.
Samford University, Birmingham, Ala.
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas
Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas
The University of Tampa, Tampa, Fla.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.
University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
University of Houston, Houston, Texas
University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla.
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis.
Villanova University, Villanova, Pa.
Wake Forest, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio

International Universities
J.J. Strossmayer University Osijek, Osijek, Croatia
Monterrey Institute of Technology, Monterrey, Mexico
Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

Star TelegramTarrant 

April 16, 2013
TCU entrepreneurship program ranked No. 6 in U.S. - By Jim Fuquay

Texas Christian University’s undergraduate program in entrepreneurship at the Neeley School of Business is ranked No. 6 in the country, up from No. 9 last year, by Bloomberg Businessweek. TCU said the magazine surveyed more than 85,000 students at 145 top business schools and asked them to rate their program’s performance in entrepreneurship. The top program was at Worchester Polytechnic Institute. Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business was No. 3 and the top Texas program for entrepreneurship.

“We have built an innovative program with our entrepreneurial management major and the rich diversity of programs offered through the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center,” O. Homer Erekson, dean of the Neeley School, said in a prepared release.

TCU was ranked No. 28 overall among undergraduate business programs overall, its same rank a year ago, according to the magazine’s website. The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business was the top Texas undergraduate program at No. 9. Notre Dame was No. 1, followed by the University of Virginia and Cornell University. Other Texas undergrad business programs included: Southern Methodist University, No. 30; Texas A&M University, No. 33; Baylor, No. 66; and the University of Texas at Dallas, No. 75.

Spears
April 18, 2013
OSU students will compete in TCU’s Values and Ventures competition - by Dollie Mitchell

A two-man team of Oklahoma State University undergraduate students will compete against students from 27 other universities Friday and Saturday at the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures™ Business Plan Competition at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

 OSU students Nick Cain, a mechanical engineering major, and Flint Holbrook, a biosystems engineering major, will present Virtue and Veneration, a service providing comfort to grieving United States military veterans and their families. Cain and Holbrook have been working on their new business venture for the past year in the Cowboy Idea Hatchery, a student business incubator that is part of the Riata Center of Entrepreneurship in the Spears School of Business.

“Virtue and Veneration offers a paid (initially free) service to place flowers on the gravesites of fallen servicemen and women, then provide a virtual website tour enabling customers to see the grave, the flower placement and the surrounding cemetery area,” said Cain. “This offers for a better connection than just ordering flowers for the gravesite. We provide the alternative means for loved ones who can’t visit the memorial sites themselves.”

“We decided to start this project because a good friend of ours, Mike Merit, who is a veteran and OSU student, really wanted to see or visit the gravesite of some of his fallen comrades of Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Holbrook. “He said, ‘If I could just see their headstones,’ and so we thought that there’s probably a lot more like him out there.”

Merit is a political science major at OSU. He decided to earn his bachelor’s degree after serving three tours in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars when he joined the Marine Corps right out of high school. Merit acts as a silent partner and the go-between for Venture and Veneration and several veteran organizations.

Virtue and Veneration would provide the service for free to recently killed-in-action service men and women in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Virtue and Veneration also plans to contract with veterans or veteran’s family members to do the remote work, “We want to employ people who believe in the cause of supporting veterans,” said Cain.

“The Virtue and Veneration team is one more great example of both entrepreneurial spirit at OSU and our commitment to the men and women who serve this amazing nation of ours,” said Michael H. Morris, N. Malone Mitchell Chair in Entrepreneurship.

The competition brings college entrepreneurs from around the world to TCU to showcase their ideas for the for-profit businesses that make money while making life better. Student teams from 28 universities will be on TCU’s campus in Fort Worth to present their plans in front of 32 judges.

“This unique competition encourages students to start businesses that they really care about, but not traditional nonprofits,” O. Homer Erekson, John V. Roach Dean of the Neeley School of Business, said. “We want students to show us for-profit enterprises that provide a social benefit as sustainable ventures. Another reason the competition is unique is that it is exclusive to undergraduate, not graduate, students with the intention to help them fund and launch their companies.”

“We are extremely excited to have been selected to participate in the TCU Value and Ventures Competition, always a very impressive line up of universities from around the country. Flint Holbrook and Nick Cain are two very entrepreneurial engineering students with a business plan that should do very well in the competition,” said Nola Miyasaki, Norman C. Stevenson Chair and Special Assistant to the Chair of the School of Entrepreneurship.

Values and Ventures Director Ann McDonald said that more than 40 business leaders will serve as judges and mentors, including business owners, CEOs, financiers, bankers and attorneys, to provide a solid base of knowledge about the viability of startup businesses.

All 28 teams will compete Friday in five flights in front of panels of different judges. The top team from each flight will advance to the final competition on Saturday, along with the top team chosen from among the five second-place teams, determined by a lightning round Friday afternoon. Saturday, those top six teams will compete in front of a different panel of judges to determine the final cash-prize winners.

Prizes are $15,000 for first place, $10,000 second place, $5,000 third place, $1,000 each for third, fourth and fifth places and honorable mention. In addition, the team out of the original 28 with the most innovative energy-related concept will receive a $5,000 Energy Award, and the team that displays bold thinking and breakthrough ideas will receive a $5,000 Founders Award, named after Nancy T. Richards and Lisa Barrentine, Dallas-based real estate entrepreneurs who co-founded the competition with the Neeley School in 2010.

Joining the OSU team as U.S. universities participating in the 2013 Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures™ Business Plan Competition are Appalachian State University, Baylor University, Chapman University, Christopher Newport University, George Washington University, Grand Valley State University, Regis University, Samford University, Southern Methodist University, St. Mary’s University, Syracuse University, Texas Christian University, The University of Tampa, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, University of Houston, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Villanova University, Wake Forest and Walsh University.

International universities include J.J. Strossmayer University Osijek, Osijek, Croatia; Monterrey Institute of Technology, Monterrey, Mexico; Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

Follow the two-day competition on Facebook at facebook.com/SpearsSchoolOSU. Twitter @SpearsSchoolOSU #tcuvv13. Follow the live stream awards dinner at www.neeley.tcu.edu/livestream beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday. For more information about the competition visit www.neeley.tcu.edu/vandv.

Strathclyde logo
April 18, 2013
Stratchlyde students take coffee revolution to the USA - By Dominic Chalmer

Five students from Strathclyde Business School are this week preparing to present an innovative business plan to turn used coffee into fertiliser at an international social enterprise competition in the USA.

‘Team Revive’ are heading to the Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition at the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center at TCU, Texas. They’re one of 28 teams from 28 universities from around the world looking to claim a share of total prize money of $43,000.

And they’ve got a great idea which could potentially revolutionise the way large coffee chains and independent retailers dispose of used coffee grounds. The team want to recycle used coffee as a soil fertiliser – which is perfect for acidity-loving crops like tomatoes. Revive have developed a business model with a new three-part supply chain.

  • Grounds are collected daily from all coffee retailers in the city centre and west-end of Glasgow
  • Grounds are dried out and packaged before being distributed to garden centres and community gardens across the central belt
  • A percentage of profit generated from each pack of fertiliser will be donated to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, a charity seeking to halt the declining population of bees in the UK

I think Revive have come up with a great idea which offers a unique and highly attractive selling proposition for gardeners. Given that coffee grounds are a safe and chemical free alternative to some other commercial fertilisers their product is not only good for crops, but it also helps to protect the ecosystem.

This competition is a fantastic opportunity for our students who will be competing against rivals from around the world. The team will be presenting their idea in front of a panel of 32 judges which will be an experience in itself. Whatever the result the fact Strathclyde was invited to attend means that all those involved will gain a far deeper insight into the business process and in an international setting.

Companies need to adapt to survive and prosper now and having employees with an entrepreneurial bent can only be a good thing. By giving young professionals the chance to learn early we will help foster a new generation of dynamic entrepreneurs. The Values and Ventures event is just part of that journey.

dallas news
April 19, 2013
Student entrepreneurs from around the country compete for $43,000 in prizes at TCU - By Hanah Cho

Business pitch reality show “Shark Tank” is holding opening auditions tomorrow at Victory Park. Across town in Fort Worth, student entrepreneurs from more than two dozen colleges are vying for prizes in a competition at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business.

The Richards Barrentine Values and VenturesTM Business Plan Competition seeks startups that can impact society or the environment as well as be profitable. The grand prize is $15,000. Five other top finishers also receive cash prizes. The competition starts today and culminates with a final and award presentation tomorrow. You could watch the final presentations at www.neeley.tcu.edu/livestream and also follow live tweeting at @NeeleySchoolTCU.

Here are the contestants:

Appalachian State University , Boone, N.C.
Watering Hole Brewery
Social brewery featuring beers with specific ingredients linked to developing countries and provides 25 cents per beer sold to Just a Drop, which coordinates clean water and sanitation in those countries.

Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Whol-E Water LLC
Bottled alkaline water sold wholesale to fitness gyms, high-end health stores and small shops, with part of proceeds going to fund wells in impoverished nations through Austin-based Glimmer of Hope.

Chapman University, Orange, Calif.
SunChild Collective LLC
Curated online marketplace for trendy fashions and goods created by local artisans around the world, combined with a mission to support artisans in their trade.

Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Va.
SoundSense
Home communications system for the hearing impaired that alerts to oven timer, doorbell, baby monitor and fire alarm through a choice of flashing lights, bed-shaking or smart-watch systems.

George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Crowdvance
Online fundraising tool for small organizations such as youth sports teams, student groups and small nonprofits that rewards donors with a choice of discounted concert tickets, movie tickets and apparel.

Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Mich.
refashion™
Kiosks in shopping and outlet malls for customers to donate clothing in exchange for coupons to mall stores. Donated clothing is given to local charities or recycled and repurposed into new materials.

J.J. Strossmayer University in Osijek, Croatia
Connecting the dots
Instructional course to teach Croatians to build and use web sites to provide or supplement income and contribute to the development of the Croatian economy.

Monterrey Institute of Technology, Monterrey, Mexico
Mascincuentaydos
Design, produce and sell ethnic fashions combining reused leather and fabric with local artisans’ handiwork, purchased over market price, with part of proceeds going to human development.

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla.
Virtue and Veneration
Paid service (initial offering free) to family and close friends of American soldiers killed in action that places flowers on graves and records virtual cemetery tours for those who live far from the cemetery.

Regis University, Denver, Colo.
Cog Academy LLC
A cartoon-based business that uses entertainment, inspiration and valuable lessons to teach aspiring entrepreneurs about the struggles and successes of starting your own business through a character named Cog.

Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Real Recipes
Print and online cookbook providing quick, wholesome, easy-to-make recipes, with part of proceeds going to Calgary Poppy Fund and Veterans Food Bank.

Samford University, Birmingham, Ala.
Freeze Cream
Instant ice cream made to order using liquid nitrogen technology.

Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Smoochies™-Kisses of Nature™
Smoothie shop that specializes in high-quality organic smoothies with no sugar added as a dessert or meal replacement to help reduce obesity and the risk of diabetes.

St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas
One World Training
Veterans provide qualified police training in developing Latin American countries to increase local police competency to deter rising crime rates in those countries.

Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
Manna for Haiti
Creating sustainable community bakeries that employ the unemployed, train youth, and provide affordable and nutritious bread products to help alleviate poverty and malnutrition in Haiti.

Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas
Sneeze4
Tissues in environmental packaging with part of proceeds allocated by the consumer to one of four causes: Alzheimer’s Association, Wounded Warriors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Feeding America.

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.
The Green Tray
Institutional nutrition auditing service connecting healthy foodservice providers with educational, health and business institutions, with tailored incentive plans and financial analysis.

University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
Summit Living
Fitness/wellness center in Clearwater, Fla., providing retirees with specialized physical training and therapy, nutritional counseling and meditation as an alternative to mainstream gyms.

University of Houston, Houston, Tex.
Imalysis
Online medical screening firm that uses patented software to provide patients with early-stage melanoma analysis and tracking prior to, during or instead of a doctor’s office visit.

University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
Click Clack LLC
Distributor making high-quality short films readily available to movie buffs for screenings and on DVD, giving little-known, small-scale directors a wider audience for their art.

University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla.
Angel Watch™
Visual room security service in nursing homes to monitor frequency and duration of visits by authorized personnel and family, length of time patient is stationary, and alerts to unauthorized visits.

University of Tampa, Tampa, Fla.
Ambrosia Global
Franchises fully contained, sustainable agricultural production systems (aquaponics) to food-insecure areas in the U.S. and the world to provide localized food production through a scalable system.

University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
REVIVE
Recycling company for gathering used coffee grounds from the coffee/hospitality industry to produce a 100% organic fertilizer.

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
Favela Experience
Culturally immersive homestays for travelers in the homes of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, safe squatter settlements with 24/7 police, to increase income for host families.

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis.
BookWurm
Free mobile app that enables readers to trade print books for discounts on future e-book purchases. Print books are sent to Better World Books to support global literacy programs.

Villanova University, Villanova, Pa.
VoICE Box
A mobile booth that allows attendees at events to provide on-site, immediate, video-based consumer feedback.

Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Bridging the Gap
Paid college students provide one-on-one technology tutoring to adults over 55 who want to be more tech-savvy and connected.

Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio
BizBall Corporation
Training for starting a business that uses a bizball baseball game experiential learning tool and provides seed capital for those who successfully complete the program.

Star Telegram
April 19, 2013
Neeley School honored - By Jim Fuquay, Sandra Baker, Barry Shlachter

TCU’s undergraduate program in entrepreneurship at the Neeley School of Business is ranked No. 6 in the country, up from No. 9 last year, by Bloomberg Businessweek.

TCU said the magazine surveyed more than 85,000 students at 145 top business schools and asked them to rate their program’s performance in entrepreneurship.

“We have built an innovative program with our entrepreneurial management major and the rich diversity of programs offered through the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center,” O. Homer Erekson, dean of the Neeley School, said in a prepared release.

TCU was ranked No. 28 overall among undergraduate business programs, its same rank as a year ago, according to the magazine’s website. Notre Dame was No. 1, followed by the University of Virginia and Cornell University.

The top program for entrepreneurship was at Worchester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business was No. 3, making it the top Texas program for entrepreneurship.

The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business was the top Texas undergraduate program at No. 9.

Tampa
April 19, 2013
UT Students Pitch Aquaponics in Business Plan Competition

A team of undergraduate students from The University of Tampa will compete against students from 27 other universities around the world this weekend in the third annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures™ Business Plan Competition.

The competition, which is held at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, brings college entrepreneurs from around the world to TCU to showcase their ideas for for-profit businesses that make money while making life better. Student teams will be on the TCU campus Friday and Saturday, April 19–20, to present their plans in front of 32 judges.

The UT student team will present Ambrosia Global, a business plan for the design, development, training, implementation and maintenance of sustainable agricultural units called “pods” for food in secure communities in the United States and around the world.

The team consists of Christopher Laganas, Jasmine Rustogi and David Wistocki, UT seniors and entrepreneurship majors who work in the UT Entrepreneurship Center. The team’s advisors include UT professors Rebecca White and David Bechtold, UT alumni Edouard Carrie and Adrien Edwards, as well as Phil Reasons, aquaponics specialist and executive director of Morning Star Fishermen.

The entrepreneurship major at UT is one of the largest on campus and provides students with skills that are critical for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur or think like one.

Competition judges include business owners, CEOs, financiers, bankers and attorneys who provide a solid base of knowledge about the viability of startup businesses. The competition is unique in that it is exclusive to undergraduate students, with the intention to help them fund and launch their companies.

Prizes are $15,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place, $5,000 for third place, $1,000 each for third, fourth and fifth places and honorable mention. In addition, the team out of the original 28 with the most innovative energy-related concept will receive a $5,000 Energy Award, and the team that displays bold thinking and breakthrough ideas will receive a $5,000 Founders Award.

For more information, go to www.neeley.tcu.edu/vandv. The competition can be followed on Facebook: www.facebook.com/neeleyschoolofbusinessattcu, and Twitter: @NeeleySchoolTCU, #tcuvv13.

ASU
April 19, 2013
Appalachian students compete in Values and Ventures Competition

A team of undergraduate students from Appalachian State University are competing against students from 27 other universities around world, April 19-20, as they showcase their ideas for for-profit businesses that make money while making life better.

The third annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures™ Business Plan Competition at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University (TCU) (http://www.neeley.tcu.edu/vandv) brings college entrepreneurs from around the world to present their plans in front of 32 judges.

“This unique competition encourages students to start businesses that they really care about, but not traditional non-profits,” said John V. Roach, dean of the Neeley School of Business. “We want students to show us for-profit enterprises that provide a social benefit as sustainable ventures. Another reason the competition is unique is that it is exclusive to undergraduate, not graduate, students, with the intention to help them fund and launch their companies.”

Values and Ventures Director Ann McDonald said that more than 40 business leaders will serve as judges and mentors, including business owners, CEOs, financiers, bankers and attorneys, to provide a solid base of knowledge about the viability of startup businesses.

All 28 teams will compete Friday, April 19, before panels comprised of different judges. The top team from each flight will advance to the final competition on Saturday, along with the top team chosen from among the five second-place teams, determined by a lightning round on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, those top six teams will compete in front of a different panel of judges to determine the final cash-prize winners.

Prizes are $15,000 for first place, $10,000 second place, $5,000 third place, and $1,000 each for third, fourth and fifth places and honorable mention. In addition, the team out of the original 28 with the most innovative energy-related concept will receive a $5,000 Energy Award, and the team that displays bold thinking and breakthrough ideas will receive a $5,000 Founders Award, named after Nancy T. Richards and Lisa Barrentine, Dallas-based real estate entrepreneurs who co-founded the competition with the Neeley School in 2010.

Follow the two-day competition April 19-20 at http://www.facebook.com/neeleyschoolofbusinessattcu or on Twitter @NeeleySchoolTCU #tcuvv13.

Strathclyde logo
April 21, 2013
Values and Ventures: Smart thinking in the USA - By Dominic Chalmers

As the institution that can lay part-claim to introducing television, wind turbines and finger print identification to the world, Strathclyde has an enviable reputation for developing graduates who excel at creativity, problem solving and innovation. In the past year, staff at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship have been working hard to continue this legacy by providing our undergraduate students with the opportunity to showcase their business expertise at a prominent international event

On April 19th a team of students from second year will fly to the Neeley School of Business in Fort Worth, Texas, to compete against some of the most prestigious North American and European universities, vying for a top prize of $15,000 in the third annual Values and Ventures event. Students have been studying intensively over the past eight months to develop their creative problem solving abilities, idea generation techniques and business modeling skills

Their objective has been straightforward: to create an innovative commercial business that simultaneously meets a social objective and makes money – something that has proven to be more of a challenge than first anticipated for many of the students involved. The initial consensus from participants in the class was overwhelming; identifying a social business idea that is also entirely sustainable (i.e. not dependent on grants or charitable income) is more akin to alchemy than any kind of scholastic or entrepreneurial ability. That said, when the first round of ideas were presented back in December, some highly promising concepts were outlined. Problems were addressed both at home and abroad; they concerned environmental issues and social exclusion, involving both technical innovation and systemic change. Perhaps most impressively, one team even solved the age-old problem of what to do with all of the tents left over after the T in the Park music festival

Students are currently in the process of refining their ideas in preparation for team selection on February 18th. This is sure to be a tough decision for the judging panel and an even tougher experience for those hoping to be chosen. The entire process is however proving to be a beneficial experience for all students, particularly in terms of exposing undergraduates to the hard work, perseverance and team-building skills that the best employers look for in graduates. Increasingly, organisations are feeding back to the University that they require employees who possess more than ‘just’ a theoretical knowledge of creativity and innovation: competing in this competition goes some way to our graduates fulfilling this demand

We hope you will follow the progress of our team via regular updates on this blog over the coming months. Our participants will be sharing their experiences as they prepare for their trip to Texas and will be corresponding from the actual event. Please feel free to offer your support and advice for our team in the comments section of this site as the weeks go on!

CBS DFW
April 22, 2013
Values & Ventures Competition at TCU

CBS screen capNews Anchor: 30 student teams from around the world are taking part in the Values and Ventures Competition. They are presenting business plans, not just meant for profit but for a cause. The team that was chosen to represent TCU wants to sell environmentally friendly tissues. 15 cents from each purchase would go to one of four nonprofits. Whoever gets the money is to whoever buys the tissues donates.

They scan the six-digit code on the side which brings them to our personalized mobile app. In the app they can choose which of the four causes they would like the 15-cent donation to be allocated to.

A $15,000 grand prize is also up for grabs. The competition stems from a donation given to TCU three years ago requiring the university to teach students how to make money while giving back.

FW BusinessPress
April 22, 2013
Online fundraising project wins TCU values competition

An online tool for small organizations that rewards donors with coupons and discounts won out over 27 other socially conscious for-profit business plans at the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition at TCU this weekend.

TCU teamThe George Washington University team of Dylan Fox and Zachary Herman presented the entrepreneurial concept for Crowdvance an online fundraising tool for small organizations such as youth sports teams, student groups and small nonprofits that rewards donors with discounts, coupons and other deals from partner companies. The first place finish at the competition hosted by Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, earns them $15,000.

The team from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., won second place and $10,000 for their plan for SoundSense, a home communications system for the hearing impaired that provides visual or physical alerts to oven timers, doorbells, baby monitors, phone calls and fire alarms through an integrated system. Andrew McGregor thought up the idea to help his hearing impaired parents.

Third place and $10,000 went to the team from TCU, Molly Johnson and Brooke Bettis, for Sneez4, tissues in environmental packaging with a part of proceeds allocated by the consumer to one of four causes: Alzheimer’s Association, Wounded Warriors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Feeding America.

“We are proud of what we’ve accomplished and hope to make this a viable business in the near future,” Molly said.
Fourth place and $1,000 went to Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla., for Virtue and Veneration, a paid service (initial offering free) to family and close friends of American soldiers killed in action that places flowers on gravesites and records virtual cemetery tours for those who live far from the cemetery.

Fifth place and $1,000 went to St. Mary’s University in San Antonio for One World Training, employing veterans to provide qualified police training in Honduras to increase local police competency and deter rising crime rates.

Sixth place and $1,000 went to Chapman University, Orange, Calif., for SunChild Collective LLC, a curated online marketplace for trendy fashions and goods created by artisans around the world, combined with a mission to support artisans in their trade.

A special Founders Award of $2,500 each went to University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, for REVIVE, a recycling company that gathers coffee grounds from the coffee/hospitality industry to produce a 100 percent organic fertilizer; and The University of Tampa for Ambrosia Global, which franchises fully contained, sustainable agricultural production systems (aquaponics) to food-insecure areas to provide localized food production through a scalable system.

“As a world-class, values-centered university, this competition is truly a sweet spot for TCU and the Neeley School, promoting innovative entrepreneurial startups which add value and meaning in important ways,” said O. Homer Erekson, John V. Roach Dean of the Neeley School of Business at TCU.

Other teams taking part were from Appalachian State University, Baylor University, Grand Valley State University, J. J. Strossmayer University (Croatia), Monterrey Institute of Technology (Mexico), Regis University, Royal Roads University (Canada), Samford University, Southern Methodist University, Syracuse University, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, University of Houston, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Villanova University, Wake Forest University and Walsh University.

Thirty judges participated in the two-day competition. Judging the final competition were Elliott Hill, president of Nike North America; Stacy Steimel, managing director and head of Latin American equities for PineBridge Investments; Paul Spiegelman, chief culture officer for Stericycle; Jan Norton, coach, author, speaker and angel investor; and Chris Kraft, president, CEO and co-founder of Splash Media.

Spears
April 22, 2013
OSU students capture fourth place at TCU’s Values and Ventures competition – By Dollie Mitchell

Virtue and Veneration, a two-man team of Oklahoma State University students Nick Cain and Flint Holbrook, placed fourth against 27 other universities last weekend at the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures™ Business Plan Competition at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Cain, a mechanical engineering major, and Holbrook, a biosystems engineering major, presented Virtue and Veneration, a service providing comfort to grieving United States military veterans and their families. Cain and Holbrook have been working on their new business venture for the past year in the Cowboy Idea Hatchery, a student business incubator that is part of the Riata Center of Entrepreneurship in the Spears School of Business.

The competition was for college entrepreneurs from around the world to showcase their ideas for businesses that make money while making life better.

“The Values and Ventures competition at TCU was very well put together and it was a real honor to be selected as a finalist. Even though we got fourth place we made some invaluable connections,” said Holbrook.

“This experience has cemented in my mind the idea [one that the OSU entrepreneurship department prescribes to] that entrepreneurship is a way of thinking and acting, and not a simple course of study,” said Cain.

All 28 teams competed Friday in front of panels of different judges. Saturday, six finalist teams competed in front of a different panel of judges to determine the final cash-prize winners.

Virtue and Veneration received a $1,000 prize for their fourth-place finish. First place and $15,000 went to George Washington University, second place and $10,000 went to Christopher Newport University, and third place and $5,000 went to Texas Christian University.

Other U.S. participating in the 2013 Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures™ Business Plan Competition were Appalachian State University, Baylor University, Chapman University, Grand Valley State University, Regis University, Samford University, Southern Methodist University, St. Mary’s University, Syracuse University, The University of Tampa, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, University of Houston, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Villanova University, Wake Forest and Walsh University.

International universities included J.J. Strossmayer University Osijek, Osijek, Croatia; Monterrey Institute of Technology, Monterrey, Mexico; Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.

OSU team

OSU students Nick Cain and Flint Holbrook are congratulated by O. Homer Erekson, John V. Roach Dean of the Neeley School of Business, after capturing fourth place against students from 27 other universities from around the world during TCU’s business plan competition.

 

 

 

dallas news
April 23, 2013
George Washington University students win TCU business plan competition - By Hanah Cho

An online fundraising tool started by George Washington University students won $15,000 in the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition over the weekend.

Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business hosted the competition that seeks socially conscious businesses.

Crowdvance beat out 27 other startups from universities around the country and abroad. Dylan Fox and Zachary Herman created the online fundraising tool for small groups that rewards donors with discounted concert tickets, movie tickets or apparel.

The team from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., earned second place honors with a $10,000 prize for SoundSense. The business provides home communications system for the hearing impaired.

TCU’s team of Molly Johnson and Brooke Bettis earned $10,000 for third place. Their startup is Sneez4, tissues in green packaging whose proceeds partly go to one of four causes: Alzheimer’s Association, Wounded Warriors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Feeding America.

The other winners included: ($1,000 each for fourth to sixth place winners)

Fourth place: Oklahoma State University for Virtue and Veneration, a service to family and friends of soldiers killed in action that places flowers in grave sites and records virtual cemetery tours for those who live far away.

Fifth place: St. Mary’s University in San Antonio for One World Training, which employs veterans to provide qualified police training in Honduras.

Sixth place: Chapman University in California for SunChild Collective LLC, a curated ecommerce site for trendy fashions and goods created by artisans around the world.

The University of Strathclyde in Scotland and the University of Tampa each received a special Founders Award of $2,500.

Other teams included Appalachian State University, Baylor University, Grand Valley State University, J. J. Strossmayer University (Croatia), Monterrey Institute of Technology (Mexico), Regis University, Royal Roads University (Canada), Samford University, Southern Methodist University, Syracuse University, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, University of Houston, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Villanova University, Wake Forest University and Walsh University.

CNU
April 23, 2013
Mens Lacrosse Standouts McGregor, Pekalski Place Second in Values and Ventures Competition

Christopher Newport men’s lacrosse standouts Andy McGregor and Teddy Pekalski took time off from their athletic endeavors this past weekend and joined with fellow CNU student Ethan Emanuele to place second at the prestigious Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition hosted by the Neeley School of Business at TCU.

In its third year, the entrepreneurship competition is held for undergraduate college students in order to showcase for-profit enterprises that specifically impact society in meaningful ways. In addition to demonstrating the profitability of the business, teams must also show a societal or environmental need to be filled.

CNU teamCompeting against 27 other teams from around the country, the Captains took home a prize of $10,000 for their project, SoundSense. The plan is designed to be a home communications system for the hearing impaired that uses flashing lights, smart-watch systems, and other methods to issue alerts for oven timers, doorbells, baby monitors, phone calls, and fire alarms.

 During the two-day competition held from April 19-20, the presentations were heard by 30 judges, including Elliott Hill, president of Nike North America. George Washington University eventually took home the top award for their fundraising tool, Crowdvance, while TCU’s group came in third with Sneeze4, an environmentally-conscious tissue campaign.

Along with their work off the field, McGregor and Pekalski have guided the men’s lacrosse team to an 8-8 record this season. McGregor is currently the all-time program leader in saves (571) and victories (27), while Pekalski has caused 63 turnovers during his tenure, which also stands as the CNU record.

Strathclyde logo
April 23, 2013
Stratchlyde students’ business idea wins prize at prestigious U.S. entrepreneurship competition - By Dominic Chalmers

Strathclyde teamFive students from Strathclyde Business School have won a special prize for their business idea at an international social enterprise competition in the USA.

‘Team Revive’ were competing at the Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition at the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center at TCU, Texas (19-20 April). They were one of 28 teams from 28 universities worldwide looking to claim a share of total prize money of $43,000.

The team was given the special ‘Founders Award’ which recognises bold thinking and breakthrough ideas. The team’s idea to turn used coffee grounds into fertiliser caught the eye of the judges and landed them the $2,500 prize. Their award was handed to them by the founders themselves - Nancy Richards and Lisa Barrentine.

Team Revive’s concept could potentially revolutionise the way large coffee chains and independent retailers dispose of used coffee grounds. The used coffee makes for an excellent soil fertiliser – particularly when used to grow acidity-loving crops such as tomatoes. Revive’s business model identifies a three-part supply chain:

  • Grounds are collected daily from all coffee retailers in the city centre and west-end of Glasgow
  • Grounds are dried out and packaged before being distributed to garden centres and community gardens across the central belt
  • A percentage of profit generated from each pack of fertiliser will be donated to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, a charity seeking to halt the declining population of bees in the UK

Given that coffee grounds are a safe and chemical free alternative to some other commercial fertilisers, Revive has a unique and highly attractive selling proposition for gardeners; their product is not only good for crops but also protects the ecosystem.

Team Revive was chosen to represent Strathclyde from more than 100 students in 20 teams after an event earlier this year run at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde Business School.

The invitation-only Values and Ventures competition was founded with the aim of encouraging for-profit business ideas which had social responsibility at their heart. Last year’s winning idea from the University of Houston was for an online retailer catering for people with disabilities.

Motivate Good
April 23, 2013
Making money while making the world a better place

I had a chance to see that idea in action this weekend at the 3rd Annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures business plan at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business. Thirty student teams of entrepreneurs from 30 universities across the country and world presented business plans, competing for $43,000 in total prize money. Each plan had to demonstrate how it would fill a societal or environmental need as well as how it would return a profit. The passion each student entrepreneur had for their business plan and the impact it would have on society was inspiring to witness, and the event was a great showcase of conscious capitalism.

This year’s winner is George Washington University, which is taking home a grand prize of $15,000 for their business plan Crowdvance. The business is an online fundraising tool for small organizations, such as youth sports teams, student groups and small nonprofits. You can visit their website at crowdvance.com to see how it works or to try it out.

The site rewards donors with discounts provided by businesses. It’s really pretty simple: First, an organization sets up their online fundraising campaign through Crowdvance. Then, they market the fundraiser through their own social media networks. In addition to an inexpensive online fundraising platform, organizations give their donors access to rewards — typically discounts or coupons — from Crowdvance partners such as art.com and ticket broker Razorgator, which pay Crowdvance an affiliate fee when people use the discounts.

The Values and Ventures event has grown since its first competition in 2011, when six schools competed. Belmont University won the $10,000 grand prize with their business plan for Spring Back Recycling. The plan focused on employing homeless people and ex-convicts to deconstruct and recycle used mattresses. You can visit the site springbackrecycling.com to see how they are doing.

In 2012, seventeen schools competed. The winner was the University of Houston Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, which won the grand prize of $15,000 with their plan for UNlimiters, an online retailer of products and services for people with disabilities. As of April 17, 2013, the most recent post on their Facebook page, they are still working on the website and hope to launch it soon. You can follow their Facebook page, UNlimiters, for updates.

For more information on this year’s event, its history and past competitions, visit Neeley School of Business.

Atlanta Journal
April 24, 2013
Major companies use questionable peer groups to set CEO pay - By Russell Grantham

Much like teachers inflating the grades of their school’s star athletes, some of Georgia’s largest public companies may be padding the benchmarks they use to set top executive pay.

To keep talented CEOs, most publicly-traded companies peg pay packages to compensation at so-called peer groups of firms they say have similar revenue, market value or profits, or are in similar industries.

But an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of the proxy statements of dozens of Georgia companies shows how some big Georgia firms tip the scales in their CEOs’ favor by using peer groups that are not similar. The AJC has been looking into executive pay issues because they have gained increased attention following the financial crisis and Great Recession. Congress has passed legislation giving shareholders more say on executive pay.

Some local companies appear to be cherry-picking bigger or higher-paying firms as peers, or inflating their executives’ pay targets compared to peers:

— Equifax uses a 14-company group in which the typical “peer” has 89 percent higher profits and 68 percent higher revenue than it does. Still, the Atlanta-based credit reporting firm paid its CEO nearly twice as much as his peers last year. CEO Rick Smith got a 20 percent pay raise last year, to $13.4 million. The median pay for his peer group: $6.9 million.

— Coca-Cola Enterprises is now too small to even be a member of the two peer groups it uses, after selling off three-quarters of its operations to Coca-Cola in 2010. But the Atlanta-based bottling company chose to keep using its old peer groups, paying CEO John Brock $10.2 million last year — up to 10 percent higher than his typical peer.

— Coca-Cola, on the other hand, retooled its peer group after the CCE deal increased the size of the Atlanta soft-drink company. Coca-Cola ditched nine beverage and food-industry companies from its old peer group and added four generally higher-paying companies — Apple, IBM, Wal-Mart and AT&T. Only one beverage company remains — Pepsi.

Coca-Cola said it chose companies with well-known brands, global operations and market values above $100 billion. But it kept several companies with highly-paid CEOs that didn’t meet all those criteria, while dropping one firm that did — Anheuser-Busch — whose CEO was paid $5 million last year.

Coca-Cola denied that CEO pay played a role in its choices.

CEO Muhtar Kent’s 2012 pay of $30.5 million was still higher than all but one of his peers, and more than double the peer group’s median pay, or midpoint.

John Bizjak, a Texas Christian University finance professor, has found that companies often create biased peer groups to help boost executives’ pay.

“There’s some monkeying around,” said Bizjak. “That’s maybe led to higher pay raises than there should have been.” And that can cost anyone who directly owns stocks, has a retirement plan, or pays taxes to federal, state and local governments whose employee pension plans are invested in stocks.

Some Georgia companies picked peer groups of firms similar to theirs by most measures. But then they made it company policy to pay their CEOs more—sometimes much more—than their peers.

 IntercontinentalExchange, an Atlanta-based financial exchange, sets executive salaries and bonuses to be higher than 75 percent of its peers. Newell Rubbermaid pegs top executives’ salaries to the median pay for its peer group. But the stock and bonus awards — the bulk of their pay — is pegged to exceed 65 percent of the peers.

CEO pay has skyrocketed far beyond corporate profits and other performance measures in recent years. While the S&P 500 firms’ profits have risen 89 percent since 1989, after inflation, CEO pay at those firms has risen more than 300 percent.

Biased peer groups is one reason for the disparity, said several researchers. But such groups don’t automatically mean firms are padding executives’ pay. Experts see evidence, for instance, that some boards of directors have countered the effects by setting executives pay raises below the compensation targets tied to the peer groups.

Keeping talent on board

Why do companies create top-heavy pay targets?

Many firms argue they need to offer above-average pay to attract and keep talented and experienced managers, and encourage top performance. A higher pay target “encourages (executives’) efforts to increase stockholder value,” said Newell Rubbermaid in its recent proxy filing to the SEC.

Corporate boards tend to be “risk averse,” said Joel M. Koblentz, a longtime recruiter of top executives. They don’t want to set pay too high or too low, he said, so they use peer groups to figure out what other companies are paying. But they also want to set pay high enough to avoid losing top performers, he said.

“They want to stay in a defend-able position,” he said.

Coca-Cola Enterprises, for instance, kept its old peer groups after selling most of its operations to Coca-Cola because “(maintaining) senior officers’ level of compensation following the transaction was critical to maintaining management continuity,” the firm said in an emailed response to the AJC.

In its recent proxy filing, Equifax said it pegged pay to larger companies to “provide sufficiently competitive pay to attract and retain experienced and successful executives … from companies larger than ourselves.”

Typically, the board of directors hires an outside consulting firm to collect pay data and set up peer groups, usually based on a dozen or so firms that are similar in terms of industry type, revenue, market value, profits and other factors.

But there’s little consistency in how firms do this.

Most companies pick a dozen or a couple of dozen comparison firms. Others, like CCE, pick hundreds.

Some say they peg pay to the median, or midpoint at which half the peer CEOs’ paychecks are higher and half are lower.

Others are vague about how they use the pay comparisons. Coca-Cola, for instance, said its peer group “is not a primary factor” in setting executive pay, which is also based on the company’s and individual’s performance.

“Mr. Kent’s leadership has directly contributed to the company’s strong performance over the last several years, and specifically in 2012, and should be appropriately rewarded,” Coca-Cola said in an emailed response.

Some firms, like Aflac, SunTrust and Equifax, stick with companies in closely-related industries. Others span the economy. Coca-Cola includes makers of drugs, computers, sneakers, software, aircraft and burgers. CCE’s 220-firm group ranges from Delta Air Lines to Google to Walt Disney.

Biased pay groups

Critics and some academics said these widely varying approaches give companies a lot of leeway to create biased peer groups and set inflated pay targets. The result, they said, is a rigged game that ratchets up CEO pay.

“Everyone can’t be above the 75th percentile,” said Bizjak, the finance professor at Texas Christian University.

If everyone’s pay is pegged to the midpoint or higher, that’s going to push pay higher “almost by definition,” he said. Last year’s laggards catch up to the median, pushing the group’s midpoint higher next year.

Bizjak and his co-researchers found that many companies’ peer groups gravitated toward bigger, better-paying, or more profitable firms that nudged pay comparisons upward. The trend was especially true at smaller public companies. Their typical “peers” were 19 percent larger, the researchers found.

There are hints that corporate boards now may be feeling more pressure from investors to re-think the issue. Since 2011, the federal Dodd-Frank financial reform law has required companies to give shareholders a non-binding “say-on-pay” vote on their executive pay plans.

Bizjak said it’s too early to tell how such votes have impacted executive pay levels. But in one study, his group found that corporate boards were awarding smaller raises than dictated by the firms’ peer comparisons.

One corporate governance consultant that advises pension funds and other big investors on say-on-pay votes now creates its own peer groups to check whether companies are being honest.

Institutional Shareholder Services said it devises peer groups of 14-24 firms as similar as possible to the target firm to see how its CEO’s pay compares.

‘Gaming continues’

Despite such efforts, one recent study suggests that companies are manipulating their peer groups even more since 2006, when the SEC began requiring firms to show their cards by identifying the composition of their peer groups.

In a recent study, the University of Maryland’s Michael Faulkender and Indiana University’s Jun Yang compared peer groups before and after the SEC rule took effect.

After the SEC-mandated disclosures began, they said, companies added more firms with higher CEO pay to their peer groups, and deleted lower-paying firms.

“The gaming of peer benchmarking continues,” they concluded.

Such trends prompted University of Delaware researchers Charles Elson and Craig Ferrere to suggest that it’s time for boards of directors to ditch peer groups.

In a 2012 study, Elson and Ferrere looked at whether peer groups are based on the wrong idea — that CEO pay levels at one company are useful for setting CEO pay at another company.

“The only theoretical justification for (peer groups) is that talent is transferable” from one company to another, said Elson. If that’s true, he added, you should see many more companies hiring CEOs who headed other firms, rather than promoting from within, he said.

But after checking an academic database that has tracked executives’ moves at 1,500 companies since 1994, they found few such CEO transfers at healthy companies.

“There were only 27 of those in the entire database,” said Ferrere. The CEOs that did jump from one industry to another often flopped, he said. Usually, he added, most companies promoted CEOs from within their own executive ranks, indicating that deep knowledge of the industry and the company is crucial, he said.

The idea behind peer groups, said Elson, is “flawed at its philosophical core.”

Tampa
April 24, 2013
UT Entrepreneurship Students Pitch Aquaponics In Competition And Win $2,500

TampaA team of undergraduate students from The University of Tampa won a $2,500 special Founders Award in a business plan competition to design, develop, train, implement and maintain sustainable agricultural units called “pods” for food insecure communities in the United States and around the world.

The UT team competed against students from 27 other universities from around the world last weekend in the third annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures™ Business Plan Competition at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University.

The UT team consisted of seniors and entrepreneurship majors Christopher Laganas, Jasmine Rustogi and David Wistocki, all of whom work in the UT Entrepreneurship Center. The team’s advisors include UT professors Rebecca White and David Bechtold, UT alumni Edouard Carrie and Adrien Edwards, as well as Phil Reasons, aquaponics specialist and executive director of Morning Star Fishermen.

The entrepreneurship major at UT is one of the largest on campus and provides students with skills that are critical for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur or think like one.

The competition brought college entrepreneurs from around the world to TCU to showcase their ideas for for-profit businesses that make money while making life better. A team from the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland) also won a Founders Award for proposing a recycling company that gathers coffee grounds from the coffee/hospitality industry to produce a 100 percent organic fertilizer.

Thirty judges participated in the two-day competition. Judging the final competition were Elliott Hill, president of Nike North America; Stacy Steimel, managing director and head of Latin American equities for PineBridge Investments; Paul Spiegelman, chief culture officer for Stericycle; Jan Norton, coach, author, speaker and angel investor; and Chris Kraft, president, CEO and co-founder of Splash Media.

“Judging this entrepreneurship competition is humbling and inspiring,” Hill said. “These students are very impressive, poised and competent.”

A team from George Washington University (Washington, D.C.), which proposed an online tool for small organizations that rewards donors with coupons and discounts, won first place in the competition and $15,000.

For more information, go to www.neeley.tcu.edu.

The University of Tampa is a private, residential university located on 105 acres on the riverfront in downtown Tampa. Known for academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience in its undergraduate and graduate programs, the University serves about 7,000 students from 50 states and 130 countries. Approximately 70 percent of full-time students live on campus, and about half of UT students are from Florida.

TCU Magazine
April 24, 2013
Profiting from business
Values & Ventures Competition rewards social entrepreneurs - By Kathryn Hopper

What if, instead of holding a bake sale, small organizations could raise money by rewarding their financial supporters in other ways like handing out discounts and deals?

That was the idea behind the winning entry in the third annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition hosted by the Neeley School of Business April 19-20.

 Dylan Fox and Zachary Herman’s online tool for small organizations that rewards donors with coupons and discounts won out over 27 other socially conscious for-profit business plans to earn first place and $15,000 in the competition.

GW teamThe George Washington University (Washington, D.C.) team was one of 28 teams from around the world competing in the annual springtime entrepreneurship competition for undergraduate college students. The competition is different than other business plan competitions because the for-profit startup presented must also contribute social value in some way.

The GWU team impressed judges with their entrepreneurial concept and presentation for Crowdvance (www.crowdvance.com), an online fundraising tool for small organizations such as youth sports teams, student groups and small nonprofits that rewards donors with discounts, coupons and other deals from partner companies.

The brainchild of Fox, who wanted a better way to raise money for college clubs he belongs to, Crowdvance is already up and running, helping clubs and organizations raise funds by rewarding donors with exclusive deals and discounts.

“The winnings from Values and Ventures will help us keep Crowdvance going and helping more organizations,” Fox said.

 Herman said that the Values and Ventures competition opened his eyes to many great socially conscious entrepreneurship projects. “These are some of the most influential and passionate students I’ve had the pleasure to meet. It’s so great knowing there are kids out there like us, trying to make a difference in the world and make it better.”

The team from Christopher Newport University, located in Newport News, Va. won second place and $10,000 for their plan for SoundSense, a home communications system for the hearing impaired that provides visual or physical alerts to oven timers, doorbells, baby monitors, phone calls and fire alarms through an integrated system. Andrew McGregor thought up the idea to help his hearing impaired parents.

“The idea originated in my home, and I brought it to these guys (Edward Pekalski and Ethan Emanuele) because I knew they could help me make it happen,” Andrew said.

Third place and $10,000 went to the team from TCU, Molly Johnson and Brooke Bettis, for Sneez4, tissues in environmental packaging with a part of proceeds allocated by the consumer to one of four causes: Alzheimer’s Association, Wounded Warriors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Feeding America.

“We are proud of what we’ve accomplished and hope to make this a viable business in the near future,” Johnson said.

“This weekend proved to us that many others see viability behind our idea, and that is really encouraging,” Bettis added.

Fourth place and $1,000 went to Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, Okla.) for Virtue and Veneration, a paid service (initial offering free) to family and close friends of American soldiers killed in action that places flowers on gravesites and records virtual cemetery tours for those who live far from the cemetery.

Fifth place and $1,000 went to St. Mary’s University (San Antonio, Texas) for One World Training, employing veterans to provide qualified police training in Honduras to increase local police competency and deter rising crime rates.

Sixth place and $1,000 went to Chapman University (Orange, Calif.) for SunChild Collective LLC, a curated online marketplace for trendy fashions and goods created by artisans around the world, combined with a mission to support artisans in their trade.

A special Founders Award of $2,500 each went to University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland) for REVIVE, a recycling company that gathers coffee grounds from the coffee/hospitality industry to produce a 100% organic fertilizer; and The University of Tampa (Tampa, Fla.) for Ambrosia Global, which franchises fully contained, sustainable agricultural production systems (aquaponics) to food-insecure areas to provide localized food production through a scalable system.

“As a world-class, values-centered university, this competition is truly a sweet spot for TCU and the Neeley School, promoting innovative entrepreneurial startups which add value and meaning in important ways,” said O. Homer Erekson ‘74, John V. Roach Dean of the Neeley School of Business at TCU.

Other teams taking part were from Appalachian State University, Baylor University, Grand Valley State University, J. J. Strossmayer University (Croatia), Monterrey Institute of Technology (Mexico), Regis University, Royal Roads University (Canada), Samford University, Southern Methodist University, Syracuse University, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, University of Houston, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Villanova University, Wake Forest University and Walsh University.

Thirty judges participated in the two-day competition. Judging the final competition were Elliott Hill ‘86, president of Nike North America; Stacy Steimel, managing director and head of Latin American equities for PineBridge Investments; Paul Spiegelman, chief culture officer for Stericycle; Jan Norton, coach, author, speaker and angel investor; and Chris Kraft, president, CEO and co-founder of Splash Media.

“Judging this entrepreneurship competition is humbling and inspiring,” Hill said. “These students, age 18 to 22, are very impressive, poised and competent.”

 Steimel said that she enjoyed seeing “these young people act out their passion for their plan, to test how much they believe in their product and how viable it is as a business. I also really like the values component to this competition, because it should never just be all about profit.”

GW Hatchet
April 28, 2013
Business success sparked by social values - by Karolina Ramos

GW team2After sprouting in their residence hall rooms, two students’ startup has gained momentum, moving into a Foggy Bottom office and sweeping an international business competition.

Senior Dylan Fox and sophomore Zach Herman’s company Crowdvance, an online fundraising tool designed to help small organizations reach independent donors, picked up $15,000 last week at the Texas Christian University Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition.

 Crowdvance works with various GW subscribers, including the club field hockey team and improv comedy troupe receSs, which each raised more than $1,000 in funding through the website.

“It’s a way for small organizations to solicit direct donations so they don’t have to go to their roommates and say, ‘Hey, do you want to buy a box of Krispy Kreme donuts?’ That might work once, but it’s not sustainable,” Fox, an economics major, said.

The company has caught on in part because it forged ties with big names, such as online video streamer Hulu and Time magazine. These companies offer donors discounted items and exclusive promotions per donation, like savings on textbooks and concert tickets or free Hulu trials.

Since Crowdvance’s inception in 2012, when it secured third place at the GW Business Plan Competition, Herman and Fox said more than 100 university organizations nationwide have requested to sign up, including clubs from the University of Michigan.

 Crowdvance earns revenue by taking in 6.5 percent of the funds organizations raise on its site.

Now expanding off college campuses, and based in a L Street office, Crowdvance recently partnered with MetroBall, a D.C. organization which aims to deter youth violence through participation in basketball.

 Herman said the group, which has been centered in D.C. for more than a decade, raised upwards of $1,000 in one week through their partnership.

“Even though they’re living in that poorer area, they still have the leverage now to reach out to people and fundraise better on a much wider scale,” Herman, an international business major, said.

The duo said they remain in frequent contact with GW’s Office of Entrepreneurship, a connection that assisted their national success as well as their first-place win at the competition.

Fox said he was grateful for the mentorship of the entrepreneurship office, but wished more courses on the topic were accessible to non-business students. Herman said GW School of Business students should be required to take an entrepreneurship class to acquire those skills.

The University has built up its entrepreneurship offerings in recent years, creating affinity housing options and drawing record numbers to its business plan competition.

“I know for a fact I wouldn’t be where I am right now without GW. We’re entrepreneurs, we’re always going to seek out opportunities,” Fox said. “But I’d like it to not be that only if you’re a hardcore entrepreneur and you find out early what you want that you get access to these opportunities.”

On the precipice of graduation, Fox said he did not apply to any jobs because he plans to continue expanding Crowdvance, for which he and Herman already work full-time.

“It’s doable. There’s no secret formula to it, you just have to not stop. If undergraduates are interested in starting something, and they think there’s going to be these huge hurdles, you have to apply energy and passion to it and walls will break down,” Fox said.

Tips for business success from Crowdvance

  • Persistence Herman and Fox said they e-mailed one company weekly for four months until it responded. That company is now a Crowdvance sponsor.
  • Use your resources The Office of Entrepreneurship and the GW School of Business both provided mentors to the duo when they were conceptualizing their business.
  • Rent an office, if you can Located away from the din of campus, Crowdvance’s office space was the “most logical expense” for the pair, who said dorms and apartments are too much of a distraction.
  • Revise your first idea When Crowdvance formed, it wasn’t initially “values based” and focused on benefiting the community, the very qualities that helped it take first place at TCU

GW Alumni
April 29, 2013
Business success sparked by social values - by Karolina Ramos

GW team3Two GW students, Dylan Fox and Zach Herman, recently won first prize in the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition, hosted by Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business.

The annual competition focuses on for-profit enterprises that impact society in meaningful ways.

Fox and Herman won for their company, Crowdvance, an online fundraising tool aimed at helping small organizations. Crowdvance competed with 27 other startups from universities across the US and around the world.

In January, GW professor John Rollins and Jim Chung, director of the GW Office of Entrepreneurship, selected Crowdvance for the international competition.

Founded in 2011, Crowdvance has already helped several organizations improve their fundraising tactics, including GW’s Women Field Hockey team. Crowdvance helped the team raise $1,000 for their annual charity game for breast cancer in under four weeks.

Strathclyde logo
April 30, 2013
Texan success for Strathclyde’s young entrepreneurs

By Rebecca Richardson, an undergraduate student from the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde Business School reflects on winning a prestigious prize at an international entrepreneurs’ competition in the USA

Strathclyde team2Having travelled for over 14 hours, Team REVIVE finally landed in Texas with a great pitch for an environmentally friendly and socially conscious business. Our idea takes used coffee grains from retailers, a waste source which accumulates 67,500 tonnes worldwide every day, and packages this into a resourceful, organic and 100% natural garden fertilizer. With our business plan written up, our presentation slides in check and our prototype product filled with the local Starbuck’s freshest coffee grains, it was time for us to show our idea to some of the greatest entrepreneurial minds of America.

Waking up at 6am on a Friday has never been easier, decked out in our REVIVE gear we headed to the TCU campus alongside other competing schools with the chance to win the $15,000 cash prize. The nerves were slowly fading away as we toured the campus and happily networked with our comrades until REVIVE’s time to present had come, and then anxiety really struck. After forty minutes of presenting and daunting questions, along with Americans being mesmerised by our accents, we left the room with huge relief and pride at what we had just accomplished not only for ourselves but for our university.

The feedback and comments we received in the hours and even days following were incredibly positive and motivating with many esteemed judges encouraging us to pursue our idea. For example the judges gave us ideas on how to reduce costs in terms or product packaging and dispensing the fertiliser to garden stores. That evening as we sat down to a traditional Texan barbeque we were shocked to hear the announcement that we REVIVE, had won the Founders Award along with a $2500 prize. The award really was the icing on the cake to an inspiring two days.

All of us can safely say it is the learning curve in our soon to be prosperous business careers. Watching our fellow competitor’s presentations alone has set the standard of what we one day, hope to achieve. Their professionalism from their outfits to networking and presenting styles is something to be admired. Not only was it an amazing experience academically but also culturally – it was more than we ever could have hoped for.

The potential to actually start up our business and company is definitely within our grasp, however with a few members going away for a year abroad on exchange and with the more challenging years of our degrees coming in a tad too quickly, it may still be some time before you see the REVIVE logo on your coffee cups – but we will do it.

We would like to take this time to thank Strathclyde University for this opportunity. Thank you to the staff who took the time, effort and money to make our experience possible. We’d also like to thank Texas Christian University for inviting us and for their kind hospitality.

Our time in America showed us that the Texans live by their motto of friendship. Every meeting is greeted with a welcoming handshake, a smile and a ‘howdy y’all.’ They ask for nothing, but through hard work, preparation and demonstrating their passion for their enterprises, we saw first-hand how these young entrepreneurs are going to change the world.