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March 28, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Belmont awards $8,250 to three students during latest “Business Plan Competition”

The idea taking first place and $5,000 also captured the votes of the pitch event attendees.

Four giant checks equaling $8,250 were awarded to winners of Belmont University’s annual “Business Plan Competition” hosted last week by the Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship.

The students first presented their real business ventures — either currently operating or planning for launch — to a panel of alumni judges that included Megan and Jimmy Feeman of No Baked Cookie Dough, Meredith Maze of Abednego Boutique, and Clark Buckner of Relationary Marketing

The judges deliberated and announced that Business System Analytics and Management double major Jessica Finney was the first place winner for Chechi’s Chai, a family labor of love that brings the real taste of chai to Nashville and builds community over cross-cultural stories. Finney received $5,000 for first place and an additional $250 for winning the People’s Choice Award. 

Finney intends for her award to help fund a trip to the state of Kerala in India with the prospect of sourcing from the Muna Tea Plantation. “Our goal is to push our culture across this bridge of living in America and having this heritage in India,” she said. “We want to find a way to bring that here without cutting corners. Source from the source. That is our dream, to ensure we represent our country and our heritage well.” 

Other winners were:

  • Senior Finance major Bailey Jackson who shared his journey of scaling, descaling, and pivoting Montana Craft Company, a five-year-old business that distributes sublimation blank for customizable craft items. Jackson accepted a $2,000 check for second place.  
  • Senior Global Leadership Studies major Paloma Tavares accepted the third-place prize of $1,000 for Casa Paloma. During her presentation, she discussed Nashville’s need for a neighborhood Latin bar that can be a permanent space to enjoy Latin music, dancing and food.

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