“The Big Idea Pitch competition is a big hit here on campus because it highlights the creativity of our students.”
TICFE Managing Director Erich Schlenker
Jackson Barbee, an Appalachian State University freshman and management major from Cary, won first place in the fall 2017 Big Idea Pitch Competition held on Nov. 10, 2017, in the Plemmons Student Union. Barbee won for his idea of a bag designed specifically for rock climbers. Second prize went to the creator of an online role-playing game for the visually impaired and third prize was awarded for a proposed mobile barbershop app.
The competition, which took place in conjunction with Appalachian’s Carole McLeod Entrepreneur Summit, was hosted by the Walker College of Business’ (WCOB) Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship (TICFE), and provides Appalachian students the opportunity to showcase their ideas for new business ventures.
Barbee won for his innovative business idea, the Boulder Bag — a purpose-built bag that supports the unique needs of rock climbers. The design of the bag eliminates common problems experienced when using normal backpacks, such as damage to electronics due to chalk dust, which is an unavoidable part of the sport, Barbee said.
He received a $1,000 prize for his idea, and won the audience choice award for his presentation. Barbee will work with Dale E. Tweedy ’89, recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award and mentor to Barbee, to secure a contract manufacturer and bring the bag to market.
The competition’s second-place winner, Narayana Walters, a senior computer science major from Sandy Ridge, North Carolina, earned a $500 prize for his idea — an online role-playing game for the visually impaired. William “Chandler” Greer, a senior marketing major and student-athlete from Knoxville, Tenn., won third place in the competition and a $250 prize for his mobile barbershop app idea.
Ten finalists were chosen from a larger pool of applicants to pitch their best business ideas for a chance to win prize money, along with boasting rights. Each finalist made a three-minute pitch to a panel of entrepreneur judges, who voted on the most promising ideas and provided feedback to the participants.
The Hockey Stick Principles, with support from the Boonshine Brewing Company and Appalachian Mountain Brewing, sponsored the pitch competition. According to its website, The Hockey Stick Principles is a research project that “investigates how good ideas become successful companies.” Appalachian alumnus Bobby Martin ’92 founded the project, which began from the guidebook he authored for entrepreneurs titled, “The Hockey Stick Principles: The 4 Key Stages to Entrepreneurial Success.”
About the Department of Management
The Department of Management offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to prepare students for a variety of managerial responsibilities in today's dynamic environment. The student who is studying management will acquire relevant knowledge and skills necessary for success in a variety of small, medium and large organizations. Undergraduate degrees include two Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.BA.) programs: the major in management and the major in hospitality and tourism management. The department also offers minors for both business and non-business majors in entrepreneurship, human resource management and sustainable business, as well as a Master of Arts in industrial-organizational psychology and human resource management jointly offered with the Department of Psychology.
About the Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at https://business.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.