Natchez native Marsaw wins business challenge

Published 12:01 am Sunday, December 14, 2014

LORMAN — When Natchez native and business administration major Chantel Marsaw’s It Still Takes a Village non-profit organization won first place in the Blueprint Mississippi Social Business Challenge, she was overcome with emotion.

“It feels so great to win,” Marsaw said. “We put in so much hard work into this organization, and it’s finally paying off.”

Marsaw’s business partner and junior business administration major James Lurks, a Woodville native, said he had pride in their organization and the work they have displayed in surrounding communities.

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“It feels good to actually put this presentation into action by helping the community,” Lurks said.

Marsaw’s organization, whose first place win earned them a chance to compete in the state competition in Jackson next year, were among four other teams who competed in the Mississippi Public Universities sponsored event Nov. 18, in the Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Dining Facility Gold Room.

Marsaw’s organization has been instrumental in helping more than 50 local students with deceased parents graduate high school.

Associate professor in the Department of Human Sciences Martha Ravola said she appreciates the challenge’s ability to prepare the students for what’s to come in their future careers.

“I believe this challenge is opening minds and creating opportunities for the teams to gain hands-on experience at presenting and solving problems in the world,” Ravola said.

Lead judge and Port Gibson native Kenneth Ross applauded the students for their preparedness and awareness of the state’s most pressing issues.

“We think that all of the students did exceptional jobs with their presentations,” Ross said. “We were extremely impressed with their approaches to identifying and solving Mississippi’s issues. We are looking forward to these young people becoming the business leaders of the future.”

Coming in second place was The Demonstrators, a team advised by J. Janice Coleman who will also be the alternate representative in the state competition. Their presentation showed how art could be created with limited resources.