Maurice Elliot, a senior student in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, knows what it takes to build a business—excellent time management skills.

Elliot founded Fayettechill, a successful brand and apparel provider, while still in college. “Balancing social, work and school life was always an issue. Although I enjoy staying busy working on various projects, all my activities led to long hours and nights.”

Despite the challenges, his hard work paid off and left him knowing more people and managing a successful business. Elliot still thinks that the timing was fortuitous. “I found that starting a business in college worked to my advantage.  A student has resources and mentors right at their fingertips.” The educational experience is improved as well. “What a student is learning in the classroom they are able to put into immediate practical use.”

Jeff Amerine, technology licensing officer and professor at the U of A, serves as a mentor to entrepreneurs at the University and in the local community. “The efforts being undertaken by the UA, Innovate Arkansas, NWA Council, NWA Entrepreneurship Alliance, ASBTDC and local startup junkies are creating something special and lasting.”

Want to learn more about entrepreneurship?

Amerine, Elliot and others in the NWA Entrepreneurship Alliance have organized a “Pitch Contest” for entrepreneurs.  The event will be hosted at Buck Nekkid BBQ (also a U of A start-up) on Aug. 4.  The event is meant to introduce entrepreneurs to angel investors, business leaders and mentors.

More than a standard meet and greet, there’s an accompanying challenge to local entrepreneurs. “There’s one minute to present. No slides. Make the case for your value proposition. What problem do you solve? What is the solution? Who are you? What’s the market size? Why will you succeed?  How much money can be made for an investor? Be quantitative and crisp.”  Have an idea and the desire to grow it?  Get involved!