April 12, 2006

Neeley Entrepreneurship Students Fly High at National Competition

With a business plan for Time Zone Airlines, a hardworking team of two students from the Neeley Entrepreneurship Program, Chris Schaum and Matt Jacobson, went up against teams from across the country to win Best Entrepreneurial Effort at the 9th Annual Enterprise Creation Competition, held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Schaum, a senior entrepreneurial management and marketing major, came up with the idea of the commercial airline that flies only small, high-end planes with amenities that rival private jets. He asked Jacobson, a senior finance and accounting major, to help him with the financial aspect. 

"Chris and Matt worked diligently to come up with a thorough business plan, and that showed in their being the first team from TCU ever invited to participate in this competition," said David Minor, director of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center. "They represented our entrepreneurship program very well."

The Enterprise Creation Competition invites undergraduate students from across the country to develop business plans that demonstrate the ability to be successfully launched.  The entries are evaluated by judges from Katz Sapper & Miller CPAs, in Indianapolis. Nine teams are invited to Ball State University for two days of competition.

Schaum and Jacobson won $800 in addition to their award.

"One of the best things about it was that all the judges saw investment potential in the market and didn't think we were crazy for trying this," Schaum said in an interview with the TCU Daily Skiff. He said Time Zone Airlines is a plausible adventure he would like to continue in the future. "Obviously, a business plan is going to continually change, but we feel we are in a position to where it is actually marketable."

Ed Riefenstahl, director of experiential learning, was their advisor and coach. "TCU's team of Schaum and Jacobson received immeasurable insights from the judges, including those of one judge who is private owner of executive jets," Riefenstahl said. "Beyond the accolades to TCU by the undergraduates' showing, Schaum and Jacobson obtained both business concept validation and specific areas of improvement on their launch plan from their judges. "

Reifenstahl also noted other TCU staff who contributed invaluable support and assistance, included Louis Stripling, Ted Legatski and Bob Akin.


Elaine Cole
PR/Event Manager
Neeley School of Business