Family invests in LSU student entrepreneurs through endowment to support J Terrell Brown Venture Challenge

J Terrell Brown

J Terrell Brown Sr. 

March 3, 2020

BATON ROUGE - The LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business is pleased to announce a generous gift to support entrepreneurship made in honor of alumnus J Terrell Brown Sr. of Baton Rouge. The endowment will provide ongoing funding for the newly renamed J Terrell Brown Venture Challenge, a student competition through which winners receive capital for new business ideas. Brown’s children, J Terrell Brown Jr. (Tee), Lloyd Andrew Brown and Collette Brown Bruce, established the endowment in recognition of their father’s successful career in business, his love for LSU and his passion for entrepreneurship. By creating an endowment, the Brown family ensures a steady stream of funding for the competition’s $25,000 prize pool. Consistent funding is essential for the competition’s future growth.

Since graduating from LSU in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in finance and insurance, Brown has consistently committed his time and talents to advance the efforts of the university. He has served on the board of the LSU Foundation and the E. J. Ourso College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council.  Brown served for over two decades on the board of LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation, including three years as chair. Brown was inducted into the Ourso College of Business Hall of Distinction in 1997 and the LSU Alumni Association Hall of Distinction in 1998.

“On behalf of the entire family,” said Tee Brown, “we are thrilled to name the J Terrell Brown Venture Challenge in Terrell’s honor, endowed in perpetuity, reflecting not only his love for LSU but with the challenge itself reflecting his passion for new ideas and entrepreneurship.”

A great idea is just the starting point for successful businesses. Student entrepreneurs need capital to secure permits and licenses, conduct market research and testing, manufacture products, and fund other essential startup activities.

“New businesses drive the economy and improve the world, but many great ideas are not pursued because of how hard it can be to get started,” said Terrell Brown. “The Challenge is an exciting program because student winners can earn the kind of added investment capital they may need to help them pursue their visions and make their startup dreams come true.”

The annual competition is open to students from any of LSU’s campuses; the only requirement for entry is a completed business plan. Entering its tenth year, the challenge is managed by the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute, part of the Ourso College of Business.   

“The E. J. Ourso College of Business fosters economic development and entrepreneurship,” said Dean Richard D. White Jr. “By challenging students to create business plans and pitches, this competition is an important element for our strategy to provide entrepreneurship education and co-curricular opportunities across the LSU system. We are so thankful that the Brown family chose to honor Terrell by investing in this program. He is an outstanding example of the kind of principled leader and innovative thinker the Ourso College is known for producing.”  

 “The Brown family’s generosity provides a sustainable base for the competition,” said Kenny Anderson, executive director of the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute. “Now we are looking at sponsorships for growth, not survival. Going forward, I am confident we can offer larger prizes or prizes to a greater number of teams.”

Anderson’s goal is to attract participants from all majors on the flagship campus and ultimately see representation from all of LSU’s campuses.  

“In the past, we have started with 30-50 business plans,” said Anderson. “There are multiple rounds of reviews and feedback from judges to help narrow the pool down to three. With our growing entrepreneurship major and minor and a new business plan course, I think we could easily double the number of submissions. I would love to see every discipline and every campus represented in the pool.”

This competition is the perfect match for Brown’s passion.

“Beyond his career successes, Dad has been drawn to entrepreneurship,” said Lloyd Brown. “His ventures have included investing and consulting with those seeking to provide new and innovative approaches to real estate, housing, mobile technology, movie production, software and more. His entrepreneurial efforts are underscored by his co-founding and board chairmanship of GMFS Mortgage and GoAuto, successful Baton Rouge-based businesses in the mortgage and insurance industries.” 

Collette Bruce added, “Dad approaches all he does with openness, integrity and unconcealed optimism.”  

Throughout his career, Brown has held many leadership roles in business and the community. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of the Credit Bureau Foundation of Baton Rouge. Previous roles include chairman and CEO of United Companies and board director of US Agencies, Sizelar Properties, Hibernia National Bank, Freeport McMoRan Sulphur and Piccadilly Corporation. Brown was chairman of the board of both the Baton Rouge Credit Bureau and of Appro Systems, a division of the Credit Bureau. Brown also served as chairman of the board of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, chairman of the board of Research Park Corporation and co-founder and board member of the nonprofit, Innovation Catalyst.
 
Gifts like the Brown family’s catalyze research and economic development and are part of LSU’s $1.5 billion Fierce for the Future Campaign, the largest campaign for higher education in the history of Louisiana. Companies and individuals who are interested in expanding the impact of the J Terrell Brown Venture Challenge by making a donation or sponsoring the annual program can do so online at lsufoundation.org/venturechallenge.

For additional information about the program, including partnership opportunities, please contact Kenny Anderson executive director of the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute at kande55@lsu.edu.

About the E. J. Ourso College of Business 

Since its establishment in 1928, the E. J. Ourso College of Business has continuously improved and expanded its offerings for students and alumni. Additionally, the college has made it a priority to provide its faculty with the resources it needs to further research in every aspect of the business world and to produce industry leaders for a global work environment. For more news and information about the E. J. Ourso College, visit lsu.edu/business.

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