Sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield, students presented business plans showcasing how each team would help combat obesity and health issues prevalent in Mississippi.
Glenn Boyce is commissioner of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. He describes the benefits students get from participating.
"They learn so much about teamwork, collaboration, responsibility, and they also learn about putting together business plans. Perhaps, the most important thing is, it draws on their creativity to help solve some of the most important problems in Mississippi, and that's some of our health related issues," says Boyce.
Eleven teams of three to six students, represented each public university. They all took the floor, and expressed their business plans to a panel of judges. Ideas ranged from a "Nutri-Balance tray" to offer healthier food selections and portions in schools, as well as a "Mobile Health and Wellness Unit" that brings nutrition and exercise directly to the consumers.
Cecilia Snyder is team captain of the winning team - the University of Southern Mississippi. She says they owe their victory to teamwork.
"We're really proud of our plan and proud of all the work we put into it, so it feels good to share it with so many people today. I feel so happy that I have such a great team with me," says Snyder.
Other teams that placed were Delta State University in third, and The University of Mississippi Medical Center in second.
Boyce says the winners have the opportunity to take their ideas to another level.
"Each of the three top winning teams will actually file a business plan and file a business into the state of Mississippi. We hope that some of them pursue it and continue and make it happen and see where it goes," Boyce says.
This is the second annual Social Business Challenge. Boyce says he looks forward to seeing what the next one may bring.