HARTSVILLE, S.C. (courtesy coker.edu and innovisionawards.org) — InnoVision, dedicated to the advancement of innovation and technology in South Carolina, has selected Coker University student Greyson Johnson as the 2022 winner of the Ibrahim Janajreh Young Innovator Award. Winning the 2022 Pee Dee Idea Challenge led Johnson on the path to winning the InnoVision award.
Michelin sponsors the Young Innovator Award, which recognizes programs such as the Pee Dee Idea Challenge, a pitch competition jointly founded by Coker University business professor Dr. Andy Burkemper and Dr. Joe Aniello, professor of management at Francis Marion University. The Pee Dee Idea Challenge focuses on “Promoting Entrepreneurial Education, Developing Effective Entrepreneurs.”
Coker’s focus on student excellence and achievement through various business plan competitions, idea challenges, and the university Enactus team’s success were cited as contributing factors when considering recipients.
How it started
Last summer, Coker business professor Dr. Andy Burkemper applied for an InnoVision Award. He referenced many educational experiences students receive at Coker, including involvement in Coker’s Center for Leadership & Entrepreneurship (CCLE). Led by Dr. Burkemper, students have the opportunity to participate in events including executive round tables, innovation fellowships, Kooper Leadership Academy, and the $10,000 Pee Dee Idea Challenge.
Five colleges and universities across the Pee Dee region participate in the Pee Dee Idea Challenge:
- Coker University
- Coastal Carolina University
- Florence-Darlington Technical College
- Francis Marion University
- Northeastern Technical College
Dr. Burkemper praises the program, “I see the Pee Dee Idea Challenge as a great way for our students to get ideas out of their heads and to investigate what it takes to be successful. The competition pushes students to evaluate the problem, solution, target market, competitive advantage, and business model to enhance their entrepreneurial mindsets and other core business skills for the real world.”
“A bit of fun and a bit of stress”
According to Burkemper, Johnson has taken full advantage of the Coker experience. For Johnson, that started before he enrolled at Coker. Johnson interned with the marketing department, received the Business Fellows Scholarship, which lead to him creating Lochwood Studios. He is a member of nearly every club on campus, became a resident assistant at the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, joined the Enactus team, and finally the Pee Dee Idea Challenge, in which he pitched his Lockwood Studios ideas.
Johnson was familiar with the challenge after filming previous events. Dr. Burkemper encouraged Johnson to enter and helped him describe his business in simple terms. He described the event as “a bit of fun and a bit of stress. The competition was filled with really great ideas and people passionate about them. In my opinion, there were more creative ideas for a business than Lochwood Studios, but mine won because I had been keeping with this idea of a media company for about five years. I also really care about the business and have sunk hours upon days into it. It was a rewarding experience and helped me think through parts of the business that I had previously not.”
Johnson continues to work and build Lochwood Studios with his brother Seth. Lochwood Studios, based in Hartsville, is a multimedia company focusing on video and photo services for businesses and non-profit organizations. Johnson’s company has worked with over 80 different organizations and produced hundreds of videos and tens of thousands of photos.
“I am humbled though that others were impressed enough with my work to award me this, and it is something that I will be proud of for the rest of my life,” Johnson reflected.
InnoVision will host a virtual awards ceremony on November 15, and Coker plans to host a watch party. Since 1999, InnoVision Awards has recognized organizations and individuals for their outstanding leadership, innovation, and technology efforts. For more information about the InnoVision Awards and mission, visit https://www.innovisionawards.org/.