Students Bo Cunningham & Ally Loter Win Governor’s Cup, Team Led by I&E Prof. Duggins

Yesterday, business students Bo Cunningham and Ally Loter, led by faculty sponsor Dr. Ron Duggins, claimed first place in the Small Business Competition at the Arkansas Governor’s Cup in Little Rock. As part of their win, they earned a ten thousand dollar prize. The team represents only the third all-UCA finalists in the competition’s nearly 25-year history.

pictured: I&E Professor Dr. Ron Duggins, Ally Loter, Bo Cunningham, and Dr. Tracy Suter, UCA Chair of Marketing & Management

“The Arkansas Governor’s Cup was a phenomenal way to speak with other likeminded, entrepreneurial spirited people while being able to take a deep dive into my business by developing both a 10+ page business plan and a pitch. We also were able to receive great feedback from a wonderful panel of judges,” Cunningham stated. “It was so encouraging to see this many people come together, in the name of entrepreneurship, in our great state of Arkansas!”

Loter echoed that she enjoyed seeing so many other entrepreneurial students from Arkansas and surrounding states. She added, “it was empowering to see how devoted many major Arkansas businesses and business leaders are to providing both financially and physically to helping make this event happen.”

The small business that Cunningham and Loter presented at the competition involves Arkansas REM (Arkansas Real Estate Media, LLC), which performs real estate photography, videography, and drone work in both Central and Northwest Arkansas.

Proud of his students’ win, Duggins said, “this competition brings together in a real world event all of the thinking and doing skills that are taught in UCA’s Entrepreneurship major and minor. Beginning with creative thinking and ending with a real business plan and professional pitch, Ally and Bo have exemplified how our students are equipped to move into a startup of their own or take their entrepreneurship skills into an existing business.” In addition to sponsoring this team, Dr. Duggins is an Associate Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) in the UCA College of Business and teaches New Venture Creation and Small Business Management, among other courses.

Arkansas Capital launched the Governor’s Cup over two decades ago to encourage college students to be innovative and think like entrepreneurs. As part of the rigorous competition, students are immersed into what it takes to launch a startup from the ground up, and they get feedback from judges who are successful entrepreneurs, small business owners, and current or former large corporation executives.

Dr. Tracy Suter, Chair of the UCA Marketing and Management Department and Marketing Professor, was also present to celebrate the team’s award. “The Arkansas Governor’s Cup, like entrepreneurial endeavors themselves, changed and evolved this year.  Student teams from border states were welcomed with both Oklahoma and Mississippi teams present.  Student teams from two-year institutions were also welcomed so the competition was tougher than ever,” said Suter. “Even so, Bo and Ally represented Arkansas REM and UCA very well as evidenced by winning the small business category.  We are happy for these risk-takers and change-makers.  We know that their fellow UCA Innovation and Entrepreneurship students were fully behind them.”

Keep a lookout for these movers and shakers who are making an impact in our state even before graduation. We can’t wait to see what they do next.

UCA Marketing Professor Publishes Business Research & Releases Nature Conservation Documentary

Dr. Benjamin Garner, Associate Professor in the UCA Department of Marketing & Management, has been busy this year as a professor, researcher, and a feature filmmaker. Find out more about his advice for students, his research published last fall, and his nature conservation documentary to be released in April 2024.

Why did you choose the subject you teach?
I enjoy marketing and sharing my passion for this area with students. I love doing research and film projects that allow me to meet people in the community and help solve real-world challenges.

What tips or advice would you give to new, current, or prospective business students?
One of the best pieces of advice I can give students is to be curious and learn as much as possible about different career fields to find the best fit for you. This includes job shadowing, interviewing potential employers, and doing internships.

Share about your research.
Recently I published a paper in the Journal of Business Research with Dr. Candice Hollenbeck at UGA on how the concepts of authenticity and scarcity work at a local farmers’ market. Our goal was to develop a theoretical understanding of how factors like natural scarcity influences consumers’ behavioral shopping patterns and attitudes. I have done research on farmers’ markets and consumer behavior for many years, and I also find the concept of authenticity very interesting.

What have you learned from doing this research?
We found that when people go shopping in a place like a farmers’ market, consumers tend to trust vendors when they talk about products being scarce. This is because fruits, vegetables, and agricultural products are influenced by the weather and growing conditions. In other words, the products may be limited that year because of a drought. This is different from, say, Gucci handbags or limited edition Pokemon cards that are artificially limited because the company wants to increase the value of each product.

What do you hope others will learn or gain from your research?
We hope through this project, businesses can understand the relationship between authenticity and scarcity, and then amplify scarcity messages that are true and trustworthy.

Related Article: Garner Leads Marketing Students to Learn & Serve Community During Project for Arkansas PBS

Last fall, Dr. Garner’s class got some hands-on experience with sales cold-calling, a project that also served the community. This spring, Dr. Garner is teaching two web classes on Principles of Marketing and an in-person class on Content Marketing. During the summer he will teach Basic Marketing online and Content Marketing in person. Next fall, he will teach two in-person Principles of Marketing courses and an in-person Advanced Selling course.

In his personal life, Dr. Garner also recently released his documentary “Arkansas Wild: The Story of Trout Tourism on the Little Red,” which will air on Arkansas PBS on April 11. Based on his childhood experiences and using his professional skills, he created a piece that he hopes will inspire others to conserve natural resources like the Little Red River.

Clinic Operations Manager | UCA Interprofessional Teaching Center

The College of Health and Behavioral Sciences is excited to open the Interprofessional Teaching Center in a few short weeks, and we are looking for an ITC Manager to help oversee the operations of the clinic. This is the perfect position for a new grad who is interested in management, marketing and communications, PR, or healthcare and healthcare administration.
If interested, visit:

Baptist Health (Little Rock) • Project Manager (Payor Relations-Contracting)

This job is open to accounting majors and a variety of other majors. Payor Relations and Contracting is responsible for negotiating contracts, modeling contracts, comparing reimbursement to the contracted rates, and managing the relationship between Baptist Health and the insurance payor. Baptist Health bills around 750,000 patient encounters a year; with some requiring contractual or legal escalation to resolve. This position’s primary responsibility is to manage the escalation process. Partner with the Revenue Cycle team to design, implement, and maintain an escalation process to identify claims or payment processes needing additional support. Coordinate and improve contract operations process between Baptist teams and payors. Responsible for ensuring all parties are on track with schedules and project deadlines. Maintain documentation and identify/resolve issues as they arise.

Apply here:

UCA College of Business Names 2020-2021 Outstanding Students

On April 8, 2021, the UCA College of Business held its annual Student Honors Banquet to celebrate the academic achievements of the College’s students and recognize the outstanding students for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Outstanding students are those who take advantage of educational opportunities and show exemplary academic performance through internships, professional development and experiential education, volunteerism, and participation in clubs and activities.

The following students were awarded an outstanding status, chosen from over 1600 undergraduate and graduate students: [Read more…]