Love’s Travel Stops to take over as sponsor of state’s student business plan competition
By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
The celebrations that have capped off each year of the Donald W. Reynolds Business Plan Competition have always been memorable and inspirational.
There’s nothing quite like the edge-of-your-seat enthusiasm and excitement that builds up as the college students who have put so much effort and creativity into the Governor’s Cup learn who will win the competition.
The Gov Cup winners weren’t the only exciting news at this year’s gala.
The Reynolds Foundation is liquidating and no longer will be underwriting the Gov Cup prizes and scholarships after this year.
The impact of this competition on our state and its students has been too valuable and important to lose, so months ago, we undertook a search for the right strategic partner — an entrepreneurial Oklahoma company that would be willing to step in and continue the competition and take it to the next level, building on all that the Gov Cup has accomplished over the last 12 years.
And we found the perfect signature sponsor — Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, a company with a history of entrepreneurship that began in 1964 with a single startup location in far western Oklahoma and is now near the top of Forbes annual list of largest private companies.
With hundreds of locations and 15,000 employees in 40 states, Love’s continues to be a beacon for innovation and entrepreneurship. We are thrilled and honored Love’s has agreed to underwrite the future of the Governor’s Cup.
“We’re delighted to be part of this competition that celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurship is a cornerstone of our culture here at Love’s, and we’re excited to support the innovators of tomorrow,” said Vice President of Communications Jenny Love Meyer.
When we started, we had a vision for the Governor’s Cup, but there is no way we could have fully anticipated the enormous impact that this business plan competition would have on our state — impact that goes well beyond the awards.
More than 1,700 students from campuses across Oklahoma have taken the Governor’s Cup challenge.
The Gov Cup crosses disciplines — engineering students team with marketers and finance majors — which compels students to understand challenges and solve problems from different perspectives in a group setting.
Most importantly, the Governor’s Cup opens the door to a first-hand experience of what really goes on in the business world.
The Governor’s Cup experience empowers students to use entrepreneurial thinking and teamwork to create business value and breakthrough ideas.
And what better example could there be for inspiration than Love’s, a company whose country stores and travel stops have revolutionized their industry.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org