Until Next Time…

Florida A&M University conquers at BE Smart Idea Lab

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Today concludes the 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit. Needless to say, this experience has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Attendees came, saw, connected, and conquered.

The final day of the Summit wrapped with the BE Smart Lab hosted by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Shell. The Smart Lab featured an E-Summit Business Solutions Challenge where four teams of HBCU students from Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Morgan State University, and Hampton University competed by solving real-world problems solicited from highly successful black-owned companies on the BE 100s.

Each team presented its solutions to a panel of judges including the Director of Programs & Alumni Services, Youth Entrepreneurs Georgia Manager, Community Affairs, Georgia Pacific L.L.C., Scott D Brown; Educational Consultant, National Black MBA Association, Eric Lyons; and New York Times bestselling author, founder & CEO of BMe Community, Trabian Shorters. Founder & CEO of Feverish Ice Cream-Ice Pops, Code Fever & Miami Black Tech Week, Felecia Hatcher, served as the host.

“A lot of times HBCUs get a bad rap and they don’t talk about the genuine that we put out into the world every day and the problems that they’re solving for our communities,” says Hatcher.

The problem being solved this time around was, “How can a bank market financial products to millennials?”

This was a blind competition. Judges had no idea which schools were presenting the solutions to the problem in an attempt at avoiding bias.

Team 1 suggested a social media strategy that includes bank sponsorship on music channels such as Pandora and Apple Music to increase brand awareness.

Team 2 conducted their own survey of millennials and suggested that the bank engage in video marketing and created the hashtag #passthekey.

Team 3 suggested changes to Industrial Banks’s business plan to reach a new customer segment that they personified as an 18-year-old named Hope using education, transparency, and choice.

Team 4 touched on industry disruption through technology and suggested that the bank establish a financial services social network.

The winning team was Florida A&M University!

This concluded 4 days of innovation, an exchange of ideas, and business solutions at the 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit—where innovation and capital met.