FAYETTEVILLE – Students from Ouachita Baptist University’s Hickingbotham School of Business placed first and second in the small business division and first in the elevator pitch competition during the 23rd annual Arkansas Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition on April 7 in Fayetteville, Ark.

Jillian Woodruff, (third from left in photo) a senior business administration/management major from Hope, Ark., placed first overall in the Winrock Automotive Small Business Division and won a $10,000 cash prize with Waderbuddy, a product designed to help users remove duck hunting waders quickly and safely. She was advised by Dr. Chris Brune, professor of finance and George Young Chair of Business at Ouachita.

Woodruff also placed first and won $1,000 in the elevator pitch competition with a 90-second product pitch for Waderbuddy.

“I got the chance to meet some amazing people and learned a lot of business skills along the way,” Woodruff said. “Dr. Brune and I worked tirelessly on the project for two semesters, and we’re both very happy with the outcome.”

“I’m so proud of Jillian and the work she has done,” Brune said. “I’ve been particularly impressed with her resilience, poise and business savvy, and I can’t wait to see where she takes the Waderbuddy from here.”

Since the first Governor’s Cup in 2001, more than 3,000 college and university students have competed, submitting 977 business ideas. For 2023, 23 teams comprising 78 students and representing nine Arkansas universities entered the competition.