Alumnus Funds Award

Written by Ellen Davis
Megaphone Guest Writer

If you have ever had the desire to start your own business, this is the award for you.

James D. “Jimmy” Wright, a 2002 graduate of Southwestern, has created an award for student entrepreneurs.

The entrepreneurial award is inspired by a courier business that Jimmy Wright started while attending Southwestern.

“I saw an opportunity to start a new business and I decided to try something totally new and take a chance,” Wright said.

Starting this business was a transformational experience for Jimmy.

“It taught me a lot about myself, and showed me that sometimes you can’t just work harder to achieve your goals, but need to find a way to work smarter,” Wright said.

One does not need to be a business major to apply for the entrepreneurial award. All first-year, sophomore and junior students are eligible. The only requirement is that it must be a for-profit business in Georgetown.

“I want to help students think about what they really love and how to make money doing it, regardless of what their area of study may be,” Wright added.

To apply for the James D. Wright Entrepreneurial Award, students need to submit a cover letter and a business plan for their proposed venture. These materials can be turned in to Ms. Arden Baxter’s office (Mood-Bridwell 225). The deadline for applications is March 24.

The applications will be reviewed from March 25 until April 8, and finalists will be asked to make an oral presentation to a panel of judges.

The judging panel is composed of Jimmy Wright, Dr. Tim O’Neill of the Political Science department, Dr. Don Parks of the Business department and Dr. Walt Herbert of the English department.

The number of finalists is dependent on the number of applicants. Each presentation will be followed by a brief question and answer session. This session is for the judges to receive further clarification on the business plans, as well as for the finalists to ask the panel any questions they may have.

The panel of judges will narrow down the applicant pool to several finalists based on the following criteria:

Is the business concept clearly described? Does the plan communicate an understanding of the market and competition? Does the plan include pro-forma cash flow and income projections (expected on all plans), and other financial and operating projections as appropriate to the particular business, such as a balance sheet and breakeven analysis, etc.? To what extent does the business plan consider all pertinent issues generally recognized in business plan guidelines in the resources noted later in this document?

The award recipient(s) will be announced on April 11. A total of $1,500 will be awarded to the recipients, and will be split up if necessary to accommodate several ventures.

The financial award will be issued to students and will be used as reimbursement of appropriate business expenses, as detailed in the business plan, or as payment of valid invoices directly to vendors.

Awards are not automatically renewed, but recipients can submit an updated business plan for a second or third award. There is no guarantee, however, that past recipients will receive future awards.

Since this is the first year for the award, the odds for being one of the lucky award recipients may be greater than they will be in future years.

“Starting my own business helped me realize you have all types of opportunity in academia and with internships while at Southwestern, but unless you are in the business department, it is hard to prepare yourself for the business world,” Wright commented.

Applying for the James D. Wright Entrepreneurial Award can provide one with the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom, and the rare chance to have complete control over your project.

Contact Arden Baxter with any questions regarding the application process. She can be reached at extension 1662 or at

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