High School Entrepreneurs Compete in State Event Hosted by USM

May 09, 2017

Greenville High School student Alex Jackson took first place in the Startup Division of the SEP State Business Plan Competition. Jackson is wearing a sequined jacket that he designed and sells through his company — Alex Cavelry.

The Southern Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) at The University of Southern Mississippi concluded its series of educational high school events and competitions on Wednesday, May 3, by hosting the 10th Annual SEP State Business Plan Competition at the Trent Lott National Center.

Through a series of regional and online qualifiers held last month, the top student business plans from across Mississippi were individually selected to advance and participate in the state finale.

With more than 500 high school students participating annually in SEP events, only the top 20 business pitches advanced to the program’s State Business Plan Competition. This year’s finalists, 35 individual students representing 20 business ideas from six high schools, were selected through a series of regional and virtual qualifiers.

The six high schools competing this year’s finale were Biloxi, Broad Street, Florence, Greenville, Gulfport, and Richland.

Award winners include the following:

Startup Division (student businesses that have started making sales)

1st Place – Alex Cavelry: Alex Jackson, Greenville High School

2nd Place – Woodn’s: Lauren Benefield, Greg Faul, Gulfport High School

3rd Place – Red Wagon: Sydney Abernathy, Bayleigh Courtney, Donnie Dear, Florence High School

Concept Division (business ideas that haven’t made any sales yet)

1st Place – Foober: Tearrany Ware, Jonathan Carr, Gulfport High School

2nd Place – Epic Galaxy World: Tarisha Moncrief, JaMiracle Farris, Greenville High School

3rd Place (tie) – Eagle’s Nest: Laura Duncan, Camden Richardson, Florence High School

3rd Place (tire) – Backtrack: Sam Emerson, Florence High School

Making Money Now! Bootstrapping Challenge (This top award recognizes one student each year for an extraordinary display of entrepreneurial spirit. To be considered, students must launch a successful, sustainable business with $10 or less)

Winner: Sam Lee, Gulfport High School

The Southern Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) is offered as an experiential education program for Mississippi’s high school students and is operated by the Southern Miss Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education. For further information, contact James Wilcox at james.b.wilcox@usm.edu.