April 15, 2024

Play It Forward Program Triumphs at the Kravis Concept Plan Competition

Kravis Concept Plan Competition Winner

Play It Forward, a community-based sports program created by CGU alum Ben Daugherty (MA in Marketing, 2023), won this year’s Kravis Concept Plan Competition by a unanimous vote. Founded in 1990 and hosted annually by the Drucker School of Management, the Kravis Concept Plan Competition allows students and alumni of the Claremont Colleges to pitch their business ideas to a panel of experienced judges for a chance to win up to $10,000.

Inspired by the profound influence of his grandfather, a legendary high school basketball coach in Ohio, and his father, who coached him in basketball and guided him in developing the business, Daugherty founded Play It Forward in the hopes of expanding access to youth basketball coaching programs by employing former athletes to lead clinics in partnership with YMCAs and community centers nationwide.

“Hearing my grandfather’s former players tell me how much of an impact he had on their life really influenced me,” Daugherty said. 

Daugherty said his motivation for entering the Kravis competition stemmed from a desire for clarity and structure in his business approach. “I had a realization that my idea and game plan needed a little more clarity. I thought creating the concept plan would be a great way to organize my ideas for the business and get a clearer picture of what I was trying to accomplish.”

Though Daugherty won the competition by unanimous vote and was awarded the entire prize amount—not always a sure bet—there were significant challenges he had to overcome. Tight time limits during the pitch forced Daugherty to significantly shorten his presentation, allowing him to present only the core elements of his business plan. Key to his preparation was the guidance he received from Clinical Professor of Management, Dr. Kristine Kawamura, who provided critical feedback on his concept plan and presentation. “Dr. K met with me prior to the competition to help me organize my presentation. She was incredibly encouraging and gave me the confidence that I wasn’t in over my head with my idea.”

The Kravis competition prize money will fund an increase in the coaching staff, enabling Play It Forward to double its clinic operations this fall. “The investment is going directly to paying coaches,” Daugherty said. “With this money, we now have the capacity to run twice the number of clinics as we previously could. Our team is so grateful for the investment and is so excited we now have double the capacity to grow this year. We want to have over 30 programs running this fall, which is a difficult but attainable goal in my opinion.”

Looking ahead, Daugherty said Play It Forward aims to be at the forefront of youth basketball, not just in terms of coaching but also in educating young athletes on essential psychological and social skills. “I hope to spend even more time trying to understand sports psychology, social emotional learning, and other youth development related concepts that we can implement across all of our events.”  

Daugherty’s success at the Kravis Concept Plan Competition highlights the importance of such platforms in nurturing the entrepreneurial ambitions of students and alumni of the Claremont Colleges. For those who may be considering their own ventures, Daugherty offers this piece of advice: “Do it! And be sure to ask for help from as many people as possible along the way.”