MVSU Wins Inaugural Blueprint Mississippi Challenge

March 16, 2015

gov phil bryant with mvsu inaugural blueprint winners

Governor Phil Bryant (third from left) presents the first place award to the Mississippi Valley State University team at the inaugural Blueprint Mississippi Social Business Challenge. Pictured (l-r) are: Curressia Brown, Advisor and Acting Chair of the Department of Business Administration; Troy D. Brown, Jr., Chair; Governor Bryant,  Alexzondra Pryor, Richard Holguin, Co-Chair; and George Huntley.

Students from Mississippi Public Universities had the opportunity to showcase their ideas, creativity and ingenuity as they competed in the inaugural Blueprint Mississippi Social Business Challenge, which was held today at the State Capitol in Jackson. The teams presented solutions to some of Mississippi’s most pressing problems and outlined ideas to help reach the goals established by Blueprint Mississippi. 

Mississippi Valley State University received the first place award, with the University of Mississippi receiving the second place award and The University of Southern Mississippi receiving the third place award.

The Mississippi Valley State University team developed a plan to create within the local Walmart an academic support center, The Learning Center at Walmart. MVSU students would serve as volunteers who would assist third through eighth grade students with homework, time management, note-taking and test-taking.

The teams competing in the Blueprint Mississippi Social Business Challenge statewide competition included It Still Takes a Village, Alcorn State University; The Creative Activists, Delta State University; Mississippi Urban Organics, Jackson State University; Mississippi Integrated Medical Solutions, Mississippi State University; Intelehealth, Mississippi University for Women; Better Together, Mississippi Valley State University; Rural Health Clinic In-House Pharmacy, University of Mississippi; Team Eagles, University of Southern Mississippi. 

Open to any public university student, the challenge required students to work in teams of three to six members with at least one faculty adviser. The teams were encouraged to enlist the assistance of professionals or alumni that have expertise in the topic the team plans to address or in building a business plan. Student teams from each university competed in competitions held on campus last fall, with the winning team from each campus advancing to the state competition.

Each team developed a business plan, outlined their concept in a tabletop display and presented their ideas to the judges in a brief oral presentation at the State Capitol.

Five business leaders served as the judges for the event. The judges included Mary Martha Henson, Executive Director and COO, Mississippi Economic Development Council; Christi Kilroy, Vice President, Policy, Research and Member Engagement, Mississippi Economic Council; Patricia McMahon, Vice President and Government Loans Manager, Trustmark National Bank; Cathy Northington, Vice President, Programs and Administration, Mississippi Economic Council; Vickie Powell, Senior Vice President, Foundations, Mississippi Economic Council. 

Students were asked to focus their efforts in support of one of the nine goals identified by Blueprint Mississippi. In 2012, Blueprint Mississippi, an independent cooperative of organizations and leaders conducted an objective review of Mississippi’s economic opportunities and recommended actions for putting Mississippi in the place of greatest opportunity, identified nine goals to enable a more prosperous, vibrant, and resilient Mississippi, built upon a foundation of economic opportunity for all its citizens. 

The goals of the Blueprint Mississippi Social Business Challenge are to encourage students to develop ideas for solving Mississippi’s most pressing problems, while learning important lessons about planning, teamwork and presenting ideas. 

More information is available on Mississippi Public Universities’ website at and will be posted on Twitter @MSPublicUniv.