COBA Hosts First Social Entrepreneurship Competition

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By Kim Smith

On Thursday, April 11, 2019, Dean Kamal Hingorani and the Percy J. Vaughn, Jr. College of Business hosted its first Social Entrepreneurship Competition in the Life Science auditorium as part of its financial literacy grant with PNC Bank. Out of nine-student groups’ submissions, six groups participated in the competition. COBA was fortunate to have a panel of distinctive judges with exceptional professional and business-related experience. 

The judges included: PNC corporate partners, Ms. Michele Jenkins-Utomi, Development adviser; Mr. Courtney I. Smith, Senior Vice President, Community Development Market Manager; Kai Smith, a graduate of Alabama State University, president of KTL Insurance Services and Kai’s Koffee House, LLC, and community leader in the Birmingham metro area; Sabrina Crowder, Co-founder and COO of PlanNext, Inc., a corporation that mobilizes the right people to address construction and consulting needs on the local, state, and federal level; COBA faculty members, Dr. Sara Bliss Kiser, Dr. Harold Lundy, and Dr. Mario Zaino, and the Chair of the Communication’s Department, Dr. L. Simone Byrd.

Winners of the competition were awarded substantial cash prizes. Third place winners were Justine Jean and Kristen Reynolds ($500). They presented their idea “Second Plate”, which offered solutions to alleviating hunger in the Montgomery area. The second place winner was Sabrina Booker ($750) with her “Community Links” presentation to help the homeless in the Montgomery area while connecting them to valuable resources to help them get on their feet. In first place, Ruvencia Samuel teamed up with Sabrina Booker ($1,250) to present their “Commuters on the Go” project, which provided safe and time-efficient transportation for young children and peace of mind for their parents.

The Percy J. Vaughn, Jr. College of Business plans to offer more competitions that provide answers to business, social, and global issues. All students are welcome to participate. If students would like to participate in the upcoming fall competition, please contact Mrs. Kim F. Smith (COBA) at ksmith@alasu.edu.