David Mitchell ’70, ’72 sees benefits of his gifts through Shocker Business Plan Competition

David Mitchell with first place winner of the Shocker Business Plan Competition
Photo by Hwong Ping Hao
(l-r) David Mitchell, judge and supporter of the Shocker Business Plan Competition, Rae Lyn Medford, first-place winner, Doug Hensler, dean of the W. Frank Barton School of Business, and Tim Pett, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, at the 2011 competition April 29 at Koch Arena.

Since the Shocker Business Plan Competition began five years ago, David Mitchell ’70, ’72 has been providing a portion of the funding. He’s also one of the judges.

David Mitchell
Courtesy photo
David Mitchell ’70, ’72

Through the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wichita State University, the Shocker Business Plan Competition is designed to encourage student innovation and provide an environment where students can present new business ideas to local business leaders. The competition is open to all Kansas students from state universities.

“Our goal is to actually have the business plan winner start a business,” said Mitchell, partner with Mitchell and Richards CPA’s. "This isn’t just an academic exercise. This is using what you’ve learned to produce a business plan. We’re interested in plans that are actually going to be implemented.”

A total of $15,000 was awarded to the top three business plan teams. The winners were based on whose ideas have the greatest potential for attracting outside financing and implementation. The money they received for winning will be used to start up the business.

“Even if someone is not a winner, they’re still going to have an opportunity for exposure. This provides the link between Wichita State and the business community. This is where we meet.”

With more than 63 business plans submitted this year, Mitchell said this competition is important to the students.

The top three winners at the 2011 Shocker Business Plan Competition on April 29 at Koch Arena were Rae Lyn Medford's Advanced Mobile Healthcare (a plan for in-home visits by nurse practitioners and physicians), Zack Steffen and Aaron Young’s Aqua Audio (a life jacket that includes a communications system) and Andrew Janzen and Spencer Linville’s Go Clinics (a nonprofit containerized medical clinic available to third-world countries and disaster sites).

“This gives the students a chance to talk to somebody who can do them some good. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested with the students involved over the years.”

Mitchell said he is often surprised at how many entries from the competition come from students that are not enrolled in their respective universities’ business school.

“Some of the best ideas we have had come from outside of the school of business. One year, a group of investors and I liked an idea and helped fund the company, which is called Petro Power. These students came out of the engineering school.”

Mitchell has been on the final judging panel each year and said he finds joy in providing funding for this competition.

“We want to make it as big of a deal as we can. Early on in my career, I remember I needed a lot of help. I got a lot of it from WSU at the time, from professors. I have always felt an obligation to pass that on. It really made a difference in my life. I know these students are thinking about starting a business, and they need help from professionals in the form of time and money. I think it’s a logical thing to be involved in.”

If you would like to contribute to the Shocker Business Plan Competition, please contact Angela Dudley, WSU Foundation director of development for the W. Frank Barton School of Business, at (316) 978-3837 or angela.dudley@wichita.edu.

© 2014 Wichita State University Foundation

Wichita State University Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.