A team of students from the Kemmons Wilson School (KWS) placed first at the annual
Hospitality Entrepreneurial Summit. The summit was held at the University of Delaware
and was sponsored by Marriott International, McDonalds Restaurants and ARAMARK. Over
200 students from twelve universities and twelve high schools participated.
The team from the University of Memphis won the award for the best business plan in
the College & University category. The team’s business plan featured a restaurant
concept, SPRIGG, which incorporated “Urban fusion,” sustainability and use of fresh
herbs grown onsite. The concept promoted healthy living/eating in an unobtrusive
manner. The KWS team was comprised of Suzanne Reese, Zachary Lewis, Mellissa Smith,
Ankur Sharma and Ryan Metzler. Dr. Leonard Jackson selected and coached the team.
“It is important that our students attend these conferences since they are exposed
to the ownership side of the industry,” said Dr. Jackson, Associate Professor at the
Kemmons Wilson School. “Not only is this a beneficial experience for our students,
but winning these competitions additionally improves the profile of the Kemmons Wilson
School and the University of Memphis.”
The first place prize included a cash award of $2,500.
The summit focused on hospitality business ownership and featured leading hospitality
entrepreneurs and hotel and restaurant development executives. The keynote speaker
at the event was Sheila Johnson, CEO and owner of Salamander Hotels & Resorts-a portfolio
of luxury hotels and spa & golf resorts. Ms. Johnson also has ownership interests
in ProJet Aviation, the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals and
is the President and Managing Partner of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
This was the second time in three years that a team from the Kemmons Wilson School
won the competition (the KWS did not participate last year).