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        College, Entrepreneurship

        Annual Ideas Jam awards $11,000 in prize money to aspiring entrepreneurs

        October 2, 2023 By RJ Winchester, The Oaks Agency

        All News


        The Auburn University Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship successfully hosted its second annual Auburn Ideas Jam on September 26th. Ideas Jam is an approachable forum for start-up ideas and early-stage businesses to compete for prizes that can help them grow into successful companies. The event is open for entrepreneurs across the student body and in the surrounding community. This year’s event had over 50 participants, a 40% increase compared to last year.

        Plainsmen Pickup team with Josh Sahib holding check

        Spencer Smith (left) of Plainsmen Pickup is pictured with Lowder Center Director Josh Sahib (center) and competition judge Cedric Torbert (right). Smith's startup was one of 11 to win $1,000 in the Auburn Ideas Jam.

        Winners included:

        • Addie Moultrie, Addie’s Snow Cones
        • Levi Wilson, Levi’s Auto Glass
        • Micah McCrary-Dennis, MENTOR$CHIP - Fund My College App
        • Coleston Dempsey, Gameday Gambler Collection
        • Josh Wilbanks, AnyBottle
        • Spencer Smith, Plainsmen Pickup
        • Viresh Deodhar, Tukaio
        • Adam Ficken, Hitch Beach & Sport Wagon
        • Cooper Bell, West to East Productions
        • Sawyer McGonagill, Barefoot Bonsai
        • Ashlie Davis, Sunrise Designs

        One of the winners, Sawyer McGonagill, pitched his business Barefoot Bonsai. Barefoot Bonsai’s goal is to improve mental health through nature therapy. It is based on focusing thoughts on nature, specifically bonsai trees. Over time this should lead to developing an overarching appreciation of life, instead of dwelling on any bad circumstances happening at the time.

        "Auburn Ideas Jam is enabling me to start this business," McGonagill said. "I didn’t have the capital before, and this will begin my journey to helping people."

        Another winning idea was Plainsmen Pickup from the team of Spencer Smith and Connor Knighten. Plainsmen Pickup is a product pickup and removal service that eliminates discussions on third-party apps.

        “I think the Auburn Ideas Jam was a great first step for Connor and I,” Smith said. “Now we can really start our business.”

        Joshua Sahib, director of the Lowder Center and founder of Auburn Ideas Jam, also promoted major initiatives, such as Jumpstart East Alabama, which takes place every summer. More frequent events are hosted in partnership with the student entrepreneurship club, and the campus community can follow them on Instagram to see other upcoming events.


        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.