The combination of a $5,000 prize and a create-your-own menu item at Biscuitville calls to students' imaginations. Elon University students made up more than half of the entries in the Brand Your Biscuit product development challenge, a contest open to students at seven universities in the Greensboro area.

The challenge is one part of the Greensboro Collegiate Biscuitville Bowl, a series of events and competitions sponsored by Opportunity Greensboro, a consortium of local businesses and university leaders and an initiative of Action Greensboro.

Each participant submitted an idea for a new Biscuitville menu item, and the restaurant will feature the winning product for a limited time. The creator of the winning product will receive $5,000 to go to a campus organization of his or her choice and a breakfast with Burney Jennings, Biscuitville’s CEO, an Elon trustee and Class of 1987 alumnus.


Of the 80 students who entered the contest, 41 students were from Elon University.

“The idea (for the Biscuitville Bowl) came about in discussion about how we bring students together locally,” said Cecelia Thompson, director of projects for Action Greensboro. “There are 50,000 students in Greensboro, but there isn’t an opportunity for them to get together socially or for academic purposes.”

In addition to Brand Your Own Biscuit, the Biscuitville Bowl includes Scratch-Made Success Week, the week of April 16, during which Opportunity Greensboro encourages universities to have a speaker or special programming to encourage entrepreneurship.

[quote]It’s a fun concept and I’m a competitive person. It’s so much more fun to design a biscuit than, say, a book. --Jordan Lee, Elon senior.[/quote]

The week will culminate with the 7 Campus Scramble, a relay race through Center City Park in Greensboro featuring biscuit-themed obstacles. Among the obstacles, Thompson said, are the flour shower, powered by industrial fans; grit tires, a high-knee challenge through tires full of grits; the buttermilk slipping slide, a 27-foot slope with artificial buttermilk; and the jelly belly crawl, an army crawl through artificial strawberry jelly.

The relay race perked senior Jordan Lee’s interest about the Biscuitville Bowl. Lee entered her deep-fried bacon and sausage biscuits idea into the contest after seeing a display about the contest at College Coffee.

A member of the track team, Lee said if she won she would give the money to her team. Though the exercise science major wouldn’t recommend frequently eating at Biscuitville — or eating a deep-fried bacon biscuit —  Lee said the contest was an entertaining way to encourage participation.

“(My idea) was really contradictory with what I want to do with my life, but it’s fun,” Lee said. “It’s a fun concept and I’m a competitive person. It’s so much more fun to design a biscuit than, say, a book.”

Kimberly Gersh, a freshman business major, also entered the competition. Having studied entrepreneurship, Gersh said the real world, hands-on experience of these competitions is helpful for learning about business innovation.

“Sure, you can learn a lot in a classroom, but it’s not until you actually get to try something you’ve learned that you can really know if you one, enjoy the topic, and two, really understand what you’ve learned and can apply it,” Gersh said.

The deadline for the Brand Your Biscuit contest was March 2. Thompson said three to five semifinalists per university will be announced by March 16. Those students will submit videos promoting their products via YouTube, and then one student will be selected from each school to give a formal presentation to the executive staff of Biscuitville.

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