UNCP Business Plan Competition winners announced


Winners have been named for thefirst Business Plan Competition of the School of Business at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.


Rob Redfearn and the Cruzbike

The competition solicited entries of business plans for “entrepreneurial events” of all kinds, new or expanding businesses and non-profits. It was managed and entries were judged through UNCP’s new Thomas Family Entrepreneurship Center at COMtech.

“The program reflects the School of Business’ and the University’s emphasis on entrepreneurship and the economic development of the region,” said Dr. Eric Dent, dean of the School of Business.  “The first Business Plan Competition attracted excellent entries.”

Lumberton, N.C., entrepreneur Rob Redfearn’s business plan to make and sell recumbent bicycles globally earned him $10,000.

Pembroke, N.C., accountant and UNCP MBA student Lucy Maynor Lowry took second prize worth $5,000 for a business plan for an Internet-based accounting system.

Third place was claimed by five St. Andrews College students with a plan was to market their institutions horse stables as a limited partnership. They took home $2,500.


Eric Dent

Redfearn, who also started up The Blackwater Grille restaurant in Lumberton, fits the role of an entrepreneur.

“One of the reasons I like being in Lumberton is because you can run a global business enterprise anywhere today,” he said. “A small business here can compete on a world platform. If we can do it, others can too.”

Redfearn’s product, called the Cruzbike, is manufactured in Taiwan, sold directly over the Internet and through a growing number of distributors in the U.S., France, Norway and Britain. One of his key partners is Australian.

As for the prize money, Redfearn said he will sink it back into operating costs. He said the winning the competition was pleasing.

“I was very pleased, and I thought we had a well fleshed out business plan, but I have written quite a few,” Redfearn said. “It’s a good product, and sales are going well.”

Maynor Lowry, who is the administrative director for information technology and accounting for the large health services company Healthkeeperz, said she worked hard on a business plan for a business start-up called Techlink.

“With classes and work, it was a day and night proposition,” she said. “The software tracks outside workers and allows them to report in via the Internet with information that goes directly to the general ledger, billing and payroll.”

The competition coincided with an entrepreneurship course, Maynor Lowry took for her MBA program.

“This was a very engaging class, not like any classroom work I have done in the past,” she said. “It was a great experience and inspiring.”

For more information about business programs at UNCP, please call 910.521.6214 or email business@uncp.edu.