history of the competition
In 2001, with a vision for promoting entrepreneurship, the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group conceived the idea for a statewide business plan competition. This vision was about creating a first-class competition, one that would send a message to students that the resources to succeed in business can be found in Arkansas. In the third year of the competition, a separate track was created for undergraduate and graduate students.
In 2004, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation made a major grant to the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation to expand the event to both Oklahoma and Nevada. With the Foundation's grant, the competition was named after the late media entrepreneur Mr. Donald W Reynolds. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.
In 2008, the First Annual Tri-State business plan competition was held in Las Vegas. The Tri-State Award represents the pinnacle of the three statewide business plan competitions for Arkansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma. At the Tri-State competition, the top two teams from each state (undergraduate & graduate) compete for cash awards totaling $118,000.
The Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup Business Plan Competition celebrated its 10th anniversary with Don Soderquist as the event Chairman.
2013 cash awards
The 2013 Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup awards will include:
letter from AEAF chairman Sam Walls
For 55 years, the Arkansas Capital Corporation has been involved in numerous projects designed to benefit Arkansans. Nothing we do, however, brings us more pleasure than the collegiate business plan competition. Now in its thirteenth year, the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup has far exceeded even my most optimistic vision. This competition was born from a desire to promote the idea of entrepreneurship to the state of Arkansas.
Numerous business success stories have resulted either directly or indirectly from the competition. Arkansas is very fortunate to have an exceptionally rich lineage of entrepreneurs who, quite literally, changed the world. Through this competition, we are the next generation of entrepreneurs to ‘Leave Their Mark’ on Arkansas and the world.
Our economic future depends on our ability to generate new businesses and utilize innovative technologies to support and expand existing businesses. I hope that you take advantage of this wonderful entrepreneurial experience.
Chairman, Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation