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Second Annual Red Paper Clip Challenge
May 10, 2012
Alicia Plemmons, a senior finance major from Irmo, accomplished a feat of which Criss Angel would be proud. She turned a $40 iPad holder into a $350 set of snow skis, poles and accessories.
|Alicia Plemmons, winner of the
Challenge, and Ian Steen, president
of the Entrepreneurship Club.
No, Alicia is not an illusionist. She is simply the winner of the second annual Red Paper Clip Challenge, a contest organized and managed by the Entrepreneurship Club at the University of South Carolina.
The competition was inspired by the story of Kyle MacDonald, the 26-year-old Canadian who started with a giant red paper clip and, in 14 tradesfrom July 14, 2005, through July 5, 2006, and ended up with a house.
Alicia did not get quite that far, but it would not be hard to imagine she could accomplish such a series of transactions, if she had the time.
In a three-week period, she:
- Traded the iPad holder to Joe of Elgin Painting for a wood grain painting of the Terminator (I’ll be back!).
- Traded the painting to Phillip of Irmo, for a surround sound gaming chair (one of the speakers did not work).
- Traded the chair to Athena of Irmo for a set of size 155 snow skis, poles and accessories.
All of the contestants in the challenge (you could enter as an individual or as a team of up to three people) started out with an item of similar value. In addition to iPad holders, some entrants started with an iPhone charger, or a stylus pen, or iPad screen protectors. The challenge was limited to the first eight entrants.
The contestants were required to report their progress on a regular basis to Ian Steen, president of the Entrepreneurship Club. Online sources, such as eBay, were used to determine the value of the final items.
Alicia explained that she accomplished the trades by visiting flea markets and garage sales. “It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I was even offered a broken car for the skis, but decided not to make that trade.” In addition to keeping the skis, Alicia also won the $50 first place prize.
Thomas Thompson, a junior supply chain management and entrepreneurship major from Greenville, was the second place finisher. He also startedwith an iPad holder, which he traded for a $30 Walmart gift card; which he traded for an 18-volt electric drill; which he traded for three golf clubs, an Ovation seven-wood, a Big Bertha II three-wood and a Cleveland 53 degree wedge.
Jakob Wilson and Will Cothran, both of whom are finance majors from Greenville, started with an iPhone charger and traded up to an Iomega external hard drive. They were the third-place finishers.
The Entrepreneurship Club started in 2008 and meets eight total times a year. During the fall semester, the club administers the Global Entrepreneurship Week Business Plan Competition. Stephen Bateman, who graduated from the Moore School in December, won the 2011 competition with a plan for the Garnet Report, a daily email report about happenings on campus and across the globe.
Other activities of the Entrepreneurship Club for the 2011-2012 academic year included:
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A meeting dedicated to the restaurant business. The owners/founders of Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe, Thirsty Fellow, Nonnah's, and Yesterday’s Restaurant and Tavern, participate in a panel discussion about what it is like to own and operate your own restaurant.
|Mrs. South Carolina Danyele Gardner, and Miss South
Carolina Courtney Taylor, with club members.
- A joint meeting with the Anglers @ USC featuring competitive fisherman and entrepreneur Jason Quinn.
- Retail entrepreneur (and Moore School graduate) Annabelle Laroque addressed the club regarding the retail business. Annabelle is the owner and designer of LaRoque Studio Boutique.
- An exploration and discussion of the global phenomenon of social entrepreneurship in a joint meeting with Net Impact.
- Will Gillespie, owner of three locations of Zoës Kitchen spoke to the club about franchising in general and specifically about franchising a restaurant.
- Conducted a panel discussion featuring the current Mrs. South Carolina and the 2011 Miss South Carolina. Danyele Gardner, the 2012 Mrs. South Carolina, is the owner/founder of South Carolina Dance Company (SCDC). Located in Lexington, the SCDC began operations in 2004 and was chosen as the best dance studio in the Midlands by readers of The State newspaper in both 2010 and 2011. Dancers trained by Danyele and her staff compete on a national basis. Courtney Turner, 2011 Miss South Carolina (Miss USA) is a motivational speaker and an independent model. Originally from Aiken, Courtney currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is also pursuing an acting career.