ASU NEWS - Three teams of student entrepreneurs from Appalachian State University will compete for $10,000 in underwriting at the annual BB&T Leadership Symposium beginning Friday in Raleigh. They will also refine their business ideas, hone their pitch skills, network with other entrepreneurs from across North Carolina and learn more about starting a business from the state's leaders in innovation.
The symposium's three Appalachian teams were selected by audience vote last October at the Boone Discovery Forum, where they were each given five minutes to pitch an idea or venture to make Boone a better place.
The $10,000 in question will help finance a venture of the team that wins the final pitch competition at the Leadership Symposium in Raleigh. Competitors will be drawn from Discovery Forums that took place last fall in several other North Carolina cities.
The competing students will include Sage Buccafurri, a senior from Fayetteville who is majoring in hospitality and tourism management; Ethan Downs of Charlotte, who is pursuing an MBA in sustainable business; and Mieszko Kwiatkowski of Boone, a student in Appalachian's Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program (SDAP). SDAP is an initiative that provides a college experience for students with intellectual disabilities. The idea that Buccafurri, Downs and Kwiatkowski came up with is called "Creative Unbound." The concept: Working with Scholars with Diverse Abilities on campus to repurpose artwork into merchandise to be sold online, Creative Unbound will provide young adults with intellectual disabilities a way to integrate with their community, put their natural talents to work, and earn income as they graduate from available support programs.
Matt Zothner, a senior marketing major from Apex, makes up a one-person team headed to Raleigh. His idea is titled "Roots." The concept: Roots is a platform that enables students to voice their opinions on local campus issues and to create solutions for these issues. It fosters open communication between the university and its student body because it is run by the university.