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The COB 300 business plan competition has come about through the efforts of its founder, Don Rainey (‘82), along with Russell “Rusty” Shepard ('86) and more than 90 other JMU alumni and business professionals. Not only have they provided financial support, they have also given generously of their time and expertise in the judging of the event. Thanks to them, the competition has been able to positively impact some 650 students during its 20-plus years of existence.

In addition to the scholarships for which they may qualify, student-participants receive mentoring—before, during and well after the competition—that has an enduring impact on the future course of their careers. Their personal networks expand to include a team of highly successful business leaders and visionaries. The competition thus becomes a lifetime investment in future entrepreneurs and executives that will pay dividends in perpetuity.

*Also served as preliminary round judge

2023 Judges

Don Rainey*

General Partner, Grotech Ventures

Rusty Shepard 

President and CIO, Angel Park Investors, LLC

Brett Danielson

Co-founder and President, BarTrack

Katherine Ferguson*

Senior VP, Business Development, Cooley, LLP

Wm. Braun Jones, III

Entrepreneur, Investor, Investment Banker

Justin Quaglia* 

Managing Director, Trading, Oaktree Capital Management

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