Entrepreneurship Team Wins International First Place

Three William Woods University business students brought home
big honors last month, capturing first place in Entrepreneurship at the
Collegiate DECA International Competition in Anaheim, Calif.    
 
The team of Lacee Floyd of Highlands Ranch, Colo.; Olivia
Koselansky of Sterling Heights, Mich.; and Naomi Starr of Columbia, Mo., also was
one of 18 selected to compete in the #BOOM Bounce Pitch Competition, sponsored
by Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI) in Columbia, Mo. 
 
“DECA Internationals was an awesome experience!” Koselansky said. “Never did we think that we would be number one and, on top
of that, win $1,000. We are so proud and we can’t wait to continue our idea and
maybe one day bring it to life.” 
 
Floyd added, “At first we hoped to win state
just for the chance to go to California for a week, but after all of the
positive feedback and winning at Internationals, we realized the business plan
that we put together was actually something worth pursuing.” 
 
“Winning that competition was a great way to end my senior
year of school. I couldn’t have asked for a better team, and it was great to
see all of our hard work pay off in California,” Starr said. 
 
The REDI competition, which was held prior to DECA
International, was open to any individual or team of up to four individuals
living in Mid-Missouri. Each individual or team was required to complete a
two-page venture idea submission form that was used to select 18 finalists to
compete for prize money sponsored by Mid-Missouri businesses, investors and
entrepreneurs.
 
The 18 finalists participated in the final round of the
contest in April at the University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business.
The WWU students presented their business project, Breathtaking Bridal
Boutique, to a panel of judges and an audience of entrepreneurs.
 
“Having the chance to present our business
plan to an entire room of entrepreneurs and getting such great reactions helped
to boost our confidence for our presentation at the International Career
Development Conference (ICDC),” Floyd explained. “It also opened multiple doors
to networking opportunities that we never would have had without competing at
the Boom Competition.”   
 
Koselansky
agreed, “The MU competition was a great experience
for all three of us. Not only were we able to present our idea, which we
are very passionate about, but we had the opportunity to network with great
people who believe in us and encourage us.” 
 
Dr. Linda Duke, DECA adviser and assistant professor of
marketing and business at WWU, was pleased with both opportunities for her
students to shine, but was particularly excited about the Entrepreneurship
victory at DECA’s International Career Development
Conference.
 
“This event has been dominated by a single, larger university
for years,” Duke said. “William Woods really upset the cart by placing first.
This is an amazing (but, not a surprising) accomplishment in which the entire
campus should take pride.” 
 
About 1,200 students, including those from William Woods,
qualified at regional competitions to be eligible to participate at the international
level. 
 
In addition to the winners in the Entrepreneurship category,
Andy Davis of Rochdale, England, competed in the Professional Sales division,
and Katie Gannon of St. Louis, Mo., competed in Web Design.  Davis made it through to the preliminary
round. 
 
All participants attended seminars, networked with other
students and competed in several categories. 
Representatives of Men’s Warehouse also made a presentation on proper
business attire for males and females.
 
A student-driven
organization, Collegiate DECA values leadership, innovation, integrity and
teamwork. It prepares students for careers by integrating skills learned in the
classroom into real-world experiences. Although all of the competition events
relate to business, students have a wide array of events to choose from—all of
which provide an opportunity for them to gain experience and network.                                                    
 
CUTLINE: 

Naomi Starr, Olivia Koselansky and Lacee Floyd display
their first place plaques earned in Entrepreneurship at the Collegiate DECA
International Competition in Anaheim, Calif.