Blueprint Mississippi Social Business Challenge a success (“It Still Takes a Village” wins first place)

When Natchez, Miss. native and business administration major Chantel Marsaw’s “It Still Takes a Village” non-profit organization won first place in the Blueprint Mississippi Social Business Challenge, she was overcome with emotion.

“It feels so great to win,” said Marsaw. “We put in so much hard work into this organization and it’s finally paying off.”

Marsaw’s business partner and junior business administration major James Lurks showed pride in their organization and the work they have displayed in surrounding communities.

“It feels good to actually put this presentation into action by helping the community,” said Lurks, who is a Woodville, Miss. native.

Marsaw’s organization, whose first place win earned them a chance to compete in the state competition in Jackson, Miss. next year, were among four other teams who competed in the Mississippi Public Universities sponsored event Tuesday, Nov. 18 in the Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Dining Facility Gold Room. Marsaw’s organization has been instrumental in helping more than 50 local students with deceased parents graduate from high school.

Associate professor in the Department of Human Sciences Dr. Martha Ravola appreciates the challenge’s ability to prepare the students for what’s to come in their future careers.

“I believe this challenge is opening minds and creating opportunities for the teams to gain hands-on experience at presenting and solving problems in the world,” said Dr. Ravola.

Lead judge and Port Gibson, Miss. native Kenneth D. Ross applauded the students for their preparedness and awareness of the state’s most pressing issues.

“We think that all of the students did exceptional jobs with their presentations,” said Ross. “We were extremely impressed with their approaches to identifying and solving Mississippi’s issues. We are looking forward to these young people becoming the business leaders of the future.”

Coming in second place were “The Demonstrators,” a team advised by Dr. J. Janice Coleman who will also be the alternate representative in the state competition. Their presentation showed how art could be created with limited resources.

“This team has worked really hard together,” said Coleman. “The main idea that we try to give them is that one can create art wherever they are. We want to show them that it is possible to create art in less fortunate communities as a way to generate revenue.”

Captain and co-captain Shankeya Cobbins, a senior and Lexington, Miss. native, and Laura Jackson, a junior and Wesson, Miss. native, were excited about sharpening their presentation skills and forming a bond with their group mates.

“This will give me better oral communications skills,” said Cobbins. “These skills will be important to me as a business major.

Team Hope came in third place with their presentation, “Holistic Health Partners.” Honorable mention was awarded to “Two faces Of Obesity.”

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