Megan Jafari, Staff Writer
Five Lee University students are competing in the nationwide Elevate Business Plan Competition, presenting and implementing a company they built from scratch ' Remedy Flies, LLC. The students who participated were Caroline Campbell, Ali Digirolamo, Josh Murphy, Derek Murray and Rebecca Thomas.
Out of the 90 applicants to submit an entry to the southern region, eight were selected to present, and the Lee team was the one to win. They then moved onto compete in nationals on April 18, where they placed second, beating out teams that included the likes of Harvard Business School.
"We have put in an insane amount of work and crazy amount of hours [into the company], but the way it has all come together is absolutely a God thing," Murray said.
The company initially began when Associate Professor of Business Guy Deloach approached the team early this semester, and presented the idea of the company to the students and offered the class credit in exchange for their work on a business plan.
A close friend of Deloach, Fishing Manager at Cabela's Jeff Wagner, contacted him and informed him of an issue that needed solving in the fly-fishing industry.
The issue, Rainy's, the third leading fly fish producer in the world, is nearly 16 months behind production in production of handmade flies. Many former fly fish producers have recently shut down due to overwork and labor laws in their countries.
The five students, or as they call themselves, coworkers, teamed up to design a full business plan for this problem. They presented it to Dr. DeLoach, who was so impressed he immediately suggested turning their idea into a company.
Remedy Flies, LLC was born roughly one month after their conversation to combat the shortage in flies.
The success of the company so far has come directly from the connections that they have made with the help of DeLoach. He introduced them to the Assistant Director of People for Care and Learning (PCL) Jake Stum. PCL and Remedy Flies have formed a partnership in which the company will implement its business model in cities in Cambodia and Nepal where PCL is already on the ground. PCL also donated $20,000 to the team.
In addition to PCL, other organizations that granted money to Remedy Flies include First Baptist of Cleveland, which gave $10,000 dollars, and they won $20,000 at the south region presentation.
Their business model projects September 2015 to be the starting date. During that month, they will open business in four different villages in Asia ' two in Cambodia and two in Nepal. They will hire 10 employees at each location, working under a supervisor, who will be the pastor of the local church that PCL has already built in that village. This stresses the importance and relevance of their connection with PCL.
"We are excited about what this company has the potential to do for people. Our employees will be working less days, shorter hours, and paid considerably above minimum wage," Murray said. "It will also provide them with a college fund for their children and medical expenses as well."
Campbell and Murray said they plan to stay involved in the company as it grows.
Campbell said it has been eye opening to see how quickly a business plan can be implemented.
'It has been incredible watching this business model come together from very collaborative team effort. This idea has been a collaboration from the students to myself and Jake Stum, to PCL and to the people it will affect all over the world,' DeLoach said. 'This plan is an excellent example of the way a business can equally serve a logistical purpose as well as work for the kingdom [of God] simultaneously.'