Columbus State University has named the winners of the 2015 Business Plan Competition, which is sponsored by CSU’s Turner College of Business.
Jessica Lester, an MBA student at Columbus State and media consultant for the Ledger-Enquirer, took first place and a $5,000 prize. Her winning proposal detailed plans to establish Georgia Craft, a new Columbus-based craft beer “gastro pub,” with partners Garrett Lawrence and Robert Battle, Lester’s husband. Lawrence and Battle are the owners of Maltitude, a downtown business on Broadway that sells craft beer for off-premises consumption.
The second place winner was Bobby Matthews, a CSU business major who created Matthews Woodworking, a Troup County, Ga., company specializing in the production of outdoor furniture.
Third place went to CSU business students Shane and Greg Meshes for their proposal for Hidden Goat Farms, a business in Warm Springs, Ga., that will sell goat’s milk and milk byproducts.
The winners were announced at a luncheon Thursday at the Columbus Country Club. Keynote speaker was John F. Flournoy, chairman and chief executive officer of The Flournoy Companies, a regional construction and property management company.
“The key to building a successful business is your tenacity,” Flournoy told the competition winners.
Kirk Heriot, CSU’s Ray and Evelyn Crowley Endowed Chair for Entrepreneurship, launched the Business Plan Competition in 2010. It aims to promote entrepreneurship and development of startups, build bridges between the university and the Columbus area and encourage commercialization of promising ideas.