Ford/HBCU's $100,000 Competition

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Ford Motor Company, in conjunction with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), DiversityInc, and SCORE -- Counselors to America's Small Business, created the HBCU Business Classic to support the development of future African-American entrepreneurs.

Left to right: David Bing, Chairman, The Bing Group; Jamy Hall, Director, Dealer Development, Ford Motor Company; Tiffney Bell, 2005 HBCU Business Classic Grand Prize Winner, Texas Southern University; George Fraser, Best-Selling Author & CEO, FraserNet; Lezli Baskerville, President and CEO, NAFEO; Dr. Joe Lee, President, Alabama State University & Board Chairman, NAFEO.
Photo Credit: Barry L. Mason

On-line Business Plan Competition Open until November 30, 2006

Ford Motor Company continues its pioneering efforts to increase the success of African-American entrepreneurs with the announcement of the 2006 HBCU Business Classic, a $100,000 online business plan competition started on September 12th and open to students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide.

Ford Motor Company, in conjunction with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), DiversityInc, and SCORE -- Counselors to America's Small Business, created the HBCU Business Classic to support the development of future African-American entrepreneurs. 

The online competition continues through November 30th with HBCU applicants submitting business plan entries for their dream ventures through Ford Motor Company's dedicated Web site, www.ford.com/go/hbcu

Next December and January, five semi-finalists will be selected from two rounds of scoring conducted by SCORE.  The Grand Prize, 1st Place and 2nd Place winners will share $100,000 in scholarships. 

Winners will be determined by a panel of distinguished entrepreneur judges at the HBCU Business Classic finals in March, 2007 during the annual meeting of HBCU presidents at the NAFEO Conference in Washington, D.C.

"Ford continues to recognize a need in the black business community for bold moves centering on the education and development of the next generation of black entrepreneurs," says Marc Perry, multicultural marketing director for Ford Motor Company. "This competition empowers HBCU students to achieve personal wealth by putting their classroom knowledge to test in a real-world competition. It also has the residual effect of building communities through economic development, one of the core goals of Ford Motor Company since its inception." 

 "When we create opportunities for entrepreneurs, they seize those opportunities and bring wealth back to the community," adds Jamy Hall, Director, Dealer Development at Ford Motor Company.  "For the first HBCU Business Classic competition, students at 80% of the HBCU schools participated."  

"The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education is pleased and proud to partner with Ford again this year to bring this unique, real-world educational experience to our students," said Lezli Baskerville, NAFEO's President and CEO. "The poise and polish of the winners of the first Ford HBCU Business Classic and their knowledge and know-how made last year's competition truly phenomenal… and extremely challenging to judge," she added.

The announcement was made Tuesday, September 12th at a press conference in the midst of HBCU Week, during the annual program of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities held at the Hyatt Regency Washington.  It was attended by education, business, political and community leaders, including Tiffney Bell, the student leader of the 2005 Ford HBCU Business Classic Grand Prize winners; successful entrepreneurs David Bing, chairman, The Bing Group, and George Fraser, best-selling author and CEO of FraserNet, who are returning for their second year as competition judges; Baskerville, President and CEO of NAFEO; Dr. Joe Lee, President, Alabama State University and Board Chairman, NAFEO; and Hall, Director, Dealer Development, Ford Motor Company.

At the conference, Hall introduced student leaders of the 2005 HBCU Business Classic finalist teams, including Tiffney Bell from Texas Southern University, representing the college's HBCU Business Classic Grand Prize winning team of five students.
Competition Details

To enter, individuals or teams of two to five students and a faculty advisor must submit a 10-page business plan via the Ford HBCU Business Classic Web site at www.ford.com/go/hbcu. The plans must include several key elements: type of business, product or service; pricing considerations; target market and competition, and general operations. Ford will also provide all students who participate with a free on-line subscription to DiversityInc.

The five finalists will then be judged by a group of prestigious entrepreneurs, including Bing and Fraser.
The competition winners will be chosen at the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) national conference in Washington, D.C., in March 2007. Grand Prize winners receive $35,000 for personal scholarships and $15,000 for their school. The first-place team wins $20,000 and $15,000 and the second-place team earns $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, in personal and school scholarships.

Ford's Commitment
For more than 40 years, the Ford Motor Company has been a major supporter of the hopes and dreams of HBCU students. In the last six years alone, Ford has donated over $10 million to Black colleges and universities.
Ford is recognized as a leading proponent of minority business development.  The company has the largest number of ethnic minority-owned dealerships among the domestic manufacturers.

In fact, more than half of the African-American dealers in the United States are Ford Motor Company dealers. Last year, Ford Motor Company's African-American dealer body generated sales of $5.2 billion.  Also in 2005, Ford purchased $3.7 billion in goods and services from minority suppliers, a sum equivalent to 8.5 percent of Ford's total U.S. spending.

For more information, logon to www.ford.com/go/hbcu .

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