You Be the Judge! Public Voting Starts in the Buc Days Ideas Challenge Video Competition

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Affordable ride sharing. Online product delivery. Voice-activated personal assistants. These are some of the very best products and services of the 21st century. Today, the developers of these concepts are enjoying the kind of success most people only dream of – and it all began with an idea. But, ideas don’t just magically grow into being. After idea conception, manifestation requires planning, organization, communications, execution, and a compelling pitch!

With this in mind, for the third year in a row, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the Buccaneer Commission are hosting a burgeoning business concept competition which encourages Islander students to realize their own innovative ideas. Late last year, 23 teams of current students and recent graduates developed and submitted their ideas in the form of a preliminary video. The competition was open to students, university-wide, from all majors. Four teams’ videos were chosen during an online voting process. Now, each of those teams is eligible to win $500 in a Best Video Competition. This part of the competition invites you, the public, to choose the best video online at Voting starts Thursday, Feb. 15 and closes Wednesday, Feb. 28.

But, come Thursday, March 1, three of those four teams will participate in a “Shark Tank”-like event where they will pitch their refined concepts in front of a live audience and a judging panel of Coastal Bend business leaders and entrepreneurs. The winners will receive monetary prize packages up to $3,000, plus a one-year membership at the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center.

“The competition encourages students to think creatively and purposefully,” said Kent Byus, Ph.D., who is coordinator of the competition and professor of marketing and entrepreneurship. “This is a solution-oriented contest; we encourage our students to think of business ideas that solve problems. I am pleased with the increasing diversity of ideas over the years.”

This year’s concepts range from service ideas that could directly financially benefit students at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, to product ideas involving “aging in place.”

Alexandria Hanna, a recent A&M-Corpus Christi business management graduate, and her team, are pitching the “Chuckmobile” – a rental van for camping that comes equipped with bedding, air conditioning, storage, cooking accessories and more. It’s ideal for college students and young professionals who love to explore nature but would rather do so in a space someplace between camping and “glamping” – a slang word for glamorous camping. For Hanna, this competition has done more than allowed her to exercise her business planning muscle – it has also boosted her confidence.

“This competition is a great idea, especially for this area,” she said. “I never thought I would make it this far; I never thought I would be here.”

The competition is also preparing students for the critical thinking and time management skills they will need to succeed after graduation. Finalist Chase Smith is a senior majoring in business. He and his team are pitching an idea for “Islander Town,” an all-inclusive recreational vehicle park concept for A&M-Corpus Christi students. Smith, who is dealing with the challenges of managing his time around school, work, and the competition runs his fingers through his hair, laughs, and wonders aloud, “Just how stressed should I be?”

Ultimately, the competition brings together A&M-Corpus Christi students, staff and faculty, business owners, and the community in a collaborative effort to highlight the most promising innovations and entrepreneurial concepts.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support of A&M-Corpus Christi students by the Buccaneer Commission,” said John Gamble, dean of the College of Business at A&M-Corpus Christi. “The Buc Days Ideas Challenge has proven to be among the most successful business concept competitions in the state and allows our students to gain experience in pitching new ventures to business executives.”

The first-place team will advance to compete at the Raymond Ideas Challenge at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. Whataburger, corporate sponsor of the competition, will award the top team with $650 worth of travel expenses to take its project to College Station, in addition to the highly coveted prize of “Whataburger for a Year.”