Virginia Union University Celebrates Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Successful Week-long Event

March 18, 2024

Team Underdog is presented with their check for 1st Place. The members of this team were Renee Price (Captain), Decari Randle, Quincy Jefferson, and Josiah Freeman

VUU’s Sydney Lewis School of Business successfully concluded their inaugural Entrepreneurship Week from February 19th to February 23rd, 2024. This vibrant series of events, aimed at fostering innovation, creativity, and the entrepreneurial spirit among students, alumni, faculty, and the local community, was marked by enthusiastic participation and insightful sessions.

The week's highlight was the keynote address by Melinda F. Emerson, known as "SmallBizLady," America's #1 Small Business Expert. Her engaging session on February 20th provided invaluable insights into the challenges and opportunities within the small business landscape. Emerson, a bestselling author, and CEO of the marketing consulting firm Quintessence Group, shared her vast experience and advice, inspiring attendees to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions with vigor and confidence.

Other significant events included the Entrepreneur Resource Fair and the VUU Panther Business Fair on February 21st, where participants explored a wealth of resources and discovered unique products offered by VUU students and alumni entrepreneurs. The fairs facilitated networking, learning, and support for the development and growth of small and minority-owned businesses.

The series culminated in a Pitch Contest on February 23rd, where four teams competed to deliver compelling presentations of their new business ventures. The contest showcased the innovative spirit of VUU's community, with participants vying for a share of $5,000 in prize money and an entry into a national pitch competition.  

The Pitch Competition judges included:

Ms. Barvenia Wooten - VUU Alumni and Owner of Roadrunner Professional Basketball Team

Mr. Bradford Smith - VUU Alumni and Deputy Auditor, for the City of Norfolk

Mr. David Waller -  Owner, of Waller & Company Jewelers

The top two prizes totaled nearly $5,000 dollars went to the following individuals for their innovative ideas: 

First Prize ($3,000): 1st Place Winners - "Underdog"

The members of this team were Renee Price (Captain), Decari Randle, Quincy Jefferson, and Josiah Freeman.  These undergraduate students designed a Public Speaking Mastery App called: "Say It Loud.”

The Public Speaking Mastery App is an enterprise aimed at offering a platform or application specifically designed to improve and master public speaking abilities.

The software will provide a variety of tools and features designed to assist users in enhancing their confidence, presenting skills, and ability to communicate effectively.

Second Prize ($1,500):  2nd Place Winner - " See-IT-Through, LLC"

The member of this team was Mr. Haraan Ramsom (Captain).  This undergraduate student created a company called "See-IT-Through, LLC".  This is a full-service media production brand which focus is on providing top-tier equipment, experienced professionals, and a collaborative studio environment to ensure the production of high-quality podcasts, music tracks and photography/videography content that meets and exceeds the client(s) expectations.

Dr. Wendy Jewell, Assistant Professor of Management and Faculty Advisor of the VUU Chapter of Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society, expressed satisfaction with the event's outcome, stating, " We are proud to have provided a nurturing ground for the next generation of entrepreneurs and look forward to the continued growth and success of our entrepreneurial community."

Virginia Union University is already looking forward to next year's Entrepreneurship Week, with plans to expand and enhance the series to further support the entrepreneurial dreams of its students and community members.

For more information about future events and initiatives, please contact Dr. Wendy Jewell at wjewell@vuu.edu.