Meet our award-winning entrepreneurs!

Meet Krys-Tina Scott, proud proprietor of Acquired Sole — an urban-themed clothing and sneaker retail specialty shop in Fort Walton Beach — and winner of the 850 Business Magazine’s 2010 Collegiate Entrepreneur Invitational.

Young Minds + Big Ideas At the end of the 850 Magazine Collegiate Entrepreneur Invitational, three standout ideas prove that young Northwest Florida entrepreneurs are poised to lead industry into the next decade and beyond. By Linda Kleindienst Originally published in the Apr/May 2011 issue of 850 Business Magazine


Krys-Tina Scott was born with an entrepreneurial spirit and it didn’t take long to manifest itself. By the time she was 3 years old, she was already running a business in her grandparents’ home she called “Room Service.”

Today, she is not just an entrepreneur in spirit — she’s got a store, a website, the goods and the customers to prove it.

Meet Krys-Tina Scott, proud proprietor of Acquired Sole — an urban-themed clothing and sneaker retail specialty shop in Fort Walton Beach — and winner of the 850 Business Magazine’s 2010 Collegiate Entrepreneur Invitational.

“I’ve always wanted to have a business … and I’ve always loved sneakers,” said Scott, a 21-year-old Northwest Florida State College sophomore whose major is business administration. Her business mission statement? Feeding the streetwear connoisseur’s obsession.

Scott was one of more than two dozen undergraduates from Northwest Florida’s public colleges and universities to enter the contest. Nine of those entries — which included representatives from Chipola College, Florida A&M University, Florida State University, Northwest Florida State College and the University of West Florida — were selected to pitch their business ideas to a four-judge panel that met in January at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa.

“I have been working on my business plan for two years. When I saw the contest on my school’s website, I had to enter. This would give me a chance to share my idea with judges and possibly a potential investor. I was speechless when I won,” said Scott, who won a $5,000 prize and the opportunity to pitch her business plan to potential investors. “Although I have won, that isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning of my journey. As Andy Warhol said, ‘Good business is the best kind of art.’”

Second place and a $2,000 prize were awarded to Ricky Harris, Brandy Johnson and Marian Lindsey of Northwest Florida State College. Their company, Global Soundtech Solutions, would offer emergency vehicle warning systems that alert motorists when an emergency vehicle is in their area.

Kelli Lampkin of Florida State University, who has developed a Monsters-B-Gone product line to comfort children fearful of the imaginary monsters that lurk in their bedrooms at night, won third place and a $1,000 check.

“The purpose of 850 ’s Collegiate Entrepreneur Invitational is to encourage the dreams of the budding entrepreneurs who will produce tomorrow’s businesses by showcasing the top business plans produced by students at each college,” said Brian Rowland, publisher of 850. “We are proud to do business in Northwest Florida and want to continue to foster and encourage the region’s growth.”

Judges for the contest were: Rusty Bozman, senior vice president of corporate development for The St. Joe Company; Dale Brill, president of the Florida Chamber Foundation; Marty Lanahan, Regions Bank area executive for North Florida and city president for Jacksonville; and Eric Miller, vice president/general manager of CenturyLink North Florida and Alabama.

“ ‘Brain Drain’ is a serious issue for not just Tallahassee … but for all of Northwest Florida. We’ve got to find a way to keep talent here in the region and the College Entrepreneur Award is a great way to do just that,” Miller said.

Added Lanahan: “If our future leaders are engaged in this type of creative process that ties to business results, the state of Florida has a very entrepreneurial future ahead of it!”


First Place Winner

Born on Eglin Air Force Base, Scott has lived mostly in Northwest Florida and Virginia during her 21 years. She developed the concept for her store after realizing that there was no place in the region for her to buy the sneakers that she and her friends favored.

“I used to get upset because I’d go to local stores and they didn’t have the shoes I wanted. I found myself buying shoes online,” she said, adding that online purchases can be a hassle if the shoes don’t fit and then have to be returned. So, Scott decided it was time to open a store where her customers could try on the product before buying it. Her top brands are known in Hip-Hop as the Concrete Jungle and they’re particularly popular among high school and college students, as well as the military.

Now, “more and more vendors are coming out of the woodwork, asking me to carry their product. They want to be on the Gulf Coast. It’s a good spring break location,” said Scott, who has formed a General Partnership with James Hubbard, a Business Administration major at Old Dominion University.

In preparation for the store opening and looking for wall art, Scott approached the Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast, asking them to sponsor a competition. She wants the kids to paint what hip-hop fashion means to them and then put the top entries on display in the store. She’s also having her school’s African-American Business Association put on a fashion show at the store. And, there’s a position open for accountant — no salary, but you get a 20 percent discount on store merchandise.

No matter what happens with the store, Scott said she plans to continue at school. “Second term I’ll be taking another accounting class,” she said. “I’m taking as many classes as I can.”

Goals + Objectives: To be the top sneaker shop on the Gulf Coast. Our first objective is to become established in Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola, Destin, Panama City and Mobile, Ala. We want the company to be known for top-notch customer service, product knowledge and product availability.

Year 1 sales projection: $100,000. (Increasing each following year by $50,000)

Philosophy: Share our love of sneakers with others of like passion who don’t have the contacts or resources to obtain the product.

Products: Outerwear, sneakers, hats and accessories. (Brands include A-Life, Nike Sportswear, Vans, Timberland, Kidrobot, Cross and Castles, Rocksmith Tokyo, 9Five, The HUF, New Era.) What makes our products different from a generic Footlocker or Finish Line (is) those stores are run by corporations that stock items they believe will sell to surrounding demographics. We have done extensive market research to show these stores are not providing the products consumers want to purchase.

Plan Strengths: We are the sole provider along the Emerald Coast for this line of products. Most individuals have to special order these products online and often there are limited quantities available. Our store will cut out the middleman and bring products to the consumer at a lower rate, without the hassle of shipping and handling.

Marketing: Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot, word of mouth, flyers distributed at local clubs and restaurants.

Product Pricing: 30 percent above wholesale price.

Estimated Monthly Expenses: $3,700, including $2,000 a month for rent, $250 a month for utilities and $100 a month for a security system.


Dale Brill: Trendy. Staying ahead of the market is critical. Super! You’re ready. Anyone needing to renew their faith in the power of free enterprise need only look Krys-Tina Scott in the eye.

Marty Lanahan: Very well done business presentation. Get better financial numbers. Use “ambassadors” or interns to help. Unique retail. Can generate immediate success.

Eric Miller: Need to focus on marketing and getting reps in the field.


GLOBAL SOUNDTECH SOLUTIONS Brandy Johnson, Marian Lindsey, Ricky Harrisglobal-soundtech

Second Place Winner

When Ricky Harris was a teenage driver, he remembers an incident when an ambulance came roaring up behind him, sirens blaring — and he had no idea it was there until it was on top of him.

“I looked out my rear view mirror and thought, ‘Holy smoke, where did that ambulance come from?,’ ” he now remembers. “My stereo was probably blaring. And, I thought, ‘there has to be a better way to do this.’ ”

Saving time. Saving lives. Every second counts when an ambulance is rushing to a hospital or police are racing to an accident or crime in progress. To make sure the way is clear for them, Harris, Brandy Johnson and Marian Lindsey — all project management majors at Northwest Florida State College — developed an alert system that uses a transponder device to alert drivers that an emergency vehicle is in the area.

The vision of Global Soundtech Solutions is to offer that safety benefit to drivers within five years through an Emergency Vehicle Warning System that automatically turns down the radio and sends out an audible alert.

The three students worked on their business plan as part of a class project last fall for a contemporary business practices class. Since participating in 850 ’s Collegiate Entrepreneur Invitational, they’ve met with a patent attorney and been actively seeking investors.

“When we started, we thought we had a good idea, but we didn’t realize it was that good,” said Johnson, 38. “I had taken business classes before, but this was the first one where we had to come up with a product. The toughest part was the research.”

Harris, 43, said he believes the concept is pretty sound and he would like to see it get off the ground because “it could be a positive for everyone.”

The plan may be slightly modified. Instead of requiring governments and motorists to purchase transponders, the three may tinker with their product and then pitch only to cities and counties to use in their emergency vehicles.

“We’ve changed it slightly to be a one-market product,” said Lindsey, 49, who developed the marketing plan. “This whole process has been very exciting. I’ve found out that I enjoy product development. And I like trying to figure out a way to market it.”

Business Goal: For the Emergency Vehicle Warning System to become government mandated and become standard equipment on all vehicles operating on public roadways in the U.S.

Product: The system is designed with a transponder and receiver with an effective range of two miles. The transponder (can be turned on and off) will be located inside each emergency vehicle and the receiver (cannot be turned off) in non-emergency vehicles. When receiving a signal from the transponder, the receiver in the non-emergency vehicle will mute the radio, red lights on the instrument panel will flash and the words “emergency vehicle” will appear on the screen. An audible voice will say, “There is an emergency vehicle in your area.”

Marketing: There are 806 million potential customers of already registered cars and trucks on public roads who can be reached through automotive supply stores. The plan is to sell EVWE to every city, county, state and government agencies for their fire, policy, ambulance and water department vehicles currently in operation.

Competition: We have no competitors. Our product helps to prevent the accident, Onstar helps the consumer after the accident. Garmin and Tom Tom help with directions, but not if an emergency vehicle is coming in that direction. Apple and Samsung help to communicate but do not communicate a situation is ahead.

Projected Income: If we charge $299.99 for each unit minus our total cost (estimated at $103.34) we will make a net profit of $196.65. The first year we project selling at least 3,814 units, making a net profit of $750,000.


Rusty Bozman: Why not just sell directly to auto manufacturers? Need patents, a market study and better understanding of production costs.

Dale Brill: Explore expanding added value by delivering a host of alerts, including traffic accidents, Amber/Silver alerts, Starbucks or product and service alerts. What’s the management team’s background? Could easily develop strategic partnerships. Are there constitutional issues mandating individuals to purchase a product? Consider an alternative exit strategy to establish a U.S. base and then sell the company to … Garmin?

Marty Lanahan: Love the ideas. Great options and unlimited potential. No details on manufacturing. Focus on deployment. Identify the actual cost from accidents caused by emergency vehicles. How about fire trucks getting into gated communities?

MONSTERS-B-GONE Kelli Lampkinlampkin

Third Place Winner

While babysitting in her early teens, Kelli Lampkin often found it hard to get her young charges to go to sleep. The problem? Monsters in the room.

Lampkin thought back to her own childhood and remembered a cure her parents had provided her to stave off a monster attack — milk with a dose of courage, also known as green food coloring. What better way, she thought, to combat imaginary fear than with an imaginary cure?

Thus was born Monsters-B-Gone, a bedtime product line designed to empower children to overcome their fears of the dark and make bedtime a more enjoyable experience — for the child and the parents. Products include a spray repellant lightly scented with soothing lavender, a Courage Formula to drink before bedtime that includes Chamomile (a medicinal herb known for its calming effect on the body) and bedtime accessories like pajamas, pillow cases, blankets, nightlights and flashlights.

Early experiments involved her cousin Joey, now 6, who is no longer afraid of monsters. Monsters, he tells Lampkin, are for babies.

“It’s a fun idea, but it’s still an idea,” said Lampkin, 21, a Florida State University junior with three majors — entrepreneurship, management and professional sales — and a minor in French. Still, she has put her public stamp on the idea through trademarking, has started to get interest from fellow students who want to partner with her and has developed a Facebook fan page for her products. She is now partnering with chemistry, psychology, nutrition and environmental studies students to develop a safe and effective repellent spray and courage formula, and her plan is to start sales in the fall of 2012.

“My favorite part of this whole process,” Lampkin admits, “is getting to play games with my younger cousins.”

Company Mission: To make our products safe, organic and useful.

Product Development: Green was chosen as the product’s signature color because it is psychologically associated with peace and ecology and the color most historically proven to reduce stress and anxiety.

Target Market: Parents of children ages 3 to 7 and the children themselves. Similar products are on the market, but there are no other comprehensive product lines.

Marketing Strategy: Marketing will have to be on a wide, commercial scale to toy stores, camps and hospitals. There will also be direct marketing through online sales and promotions. The website will have a blog for parents to comment on their success and give tips to others. Marketing will begin with small local businesses through networking and personal sales to develop business partnerships.

Financials: Estimated cost to complete research, development and the patenting process for the repellent spray and courage formula is approximately $10,000. Without patent, the research and development costs are about $5,000 for lab time, supplies and labor. Anticipate at least a 35 percent markup to end consumers, at least a 25 percent markup to retailers.


Rusty Bozman: Packaging would improve marketing.

Dale Brill: Need more financial, manufacturing and distribution plan detail. Find way to increase margins. Need more management detail — who are you and why should I invest in you? No sense of demand/need. Great potential. Good job making case for psychological need. Need marketing position clarity. Marketing will make or break this.

Marty Lanahan: Cute, cute cute. I totally get it. Good handle on finances. Figure out which product is best and stick with the top four. Play up clinical studies in pitch book. Get the “comprehensive monster banishing kit” in place – QVC could work. Patent the logo before the product evolves. Does liquid consumable slow you down to get to the market?

Eric Miller: Start marketing right away. Productize/package kit.


850 would like to thank the students who participated in our Collegiate Entrepreneur Invitational Regional Competition. Chipola College: Anita Halling and Karl Halling, A Natural Balance; Northwest Florida State College: Ricky Harris, Brandy Johnson, Marian Lindsey, Global Soundtech Solutions; Krys-Tina Scott, Acquired Sole; Florida State University: Alex Richards, On Spot; Kelli Lampkin, Monsters B Gone; Florida A&M University: Andre Albritton, Jomar Floyd, Natalie Sinclair, KANAJ Real Estate; University of West Florida: Michelle Bridges, Kristin Doby, Madison Fisher and Donnie Morgan, RestIn Pets; Carman Whitaker, Nature Delivered


Presenting Sponsors: Regions Bank and CenturyLink

Sponsors: Gulf Power; Matthews Jones & Hawkins; Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa; and O’Sullivan Creel.


The Judges:

Rusty Bozman is senior vice president of human resources and corporate development for The St. Joe Company, the largest landowner in Northwest Florida. With close to 18 years’ experience, he oversees all of JOE’s office space, payroll function, auto fleet, centralized purchasing and facility management. He previously held human resources leadership roles in the healthcare and information technology sectors.


Dale A. Brill is the president of the Florida Chamber Foundation. He previously served as the director of the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade & Economic Development under former Gov. Charlie Crist and was chief marketing officer for VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing agency. Earlier in his career, he worked at General Motors, helping the company develop its international business strategy, and was president of an advertising agency.


Marty Lanahan is Regions’ area executive for North Florida and city president for Jacksonville, overseeing banking operations that include retail, commercial, small business, real estate and wealth management. Prior to joining Regions in 1999, her banking career began with The Atlantic Bank/First Union Bank. Her background includes commercial/corporate banking, small business banking and treasury management.


Eric Miller is vice president/general manager of CenturyLink North Florida and Alabama. He launched and built three companies of his own and has more than 15 years’ experience as an outside advisor or investor in early stage or startup companies involved in technology, manufacturing, financial services and telecommunications. He has worked across the U.S. as well as internationally, doing business with organizations in China, India, Spain, Germany and Portugal.