Richard Hall

Richard Hall

Hometown: Carmel, IN
College/University Attending: Wabash College
Year In School When Selected: 3rd Year
Program of Study: Major: Mathematics, Minor: Business


I go by RT and I'm from Columbus, Ohio; but my family now resides on the north side of Indianapolis where I'm the oldest of five siblings. I attend Wabash College, which for those who may be unaware is one of three remaining nonreligious all-male colleges. In addition to the New Ideas Competition, I've worked in many capacities to explore entrepreneurship; whether it be assisting startups in my role as a consultant for my school's Center for Innovation, Business, and Entrepreneurship (CIBE) or working for the State of Indiana to grow business and innovation here in my home. As of now, I'm currently working to develop a podcast to provide early career advice for liberal arts students as well as tell the stories of successful liberal arts students with nonlinear career paths. In my personal life, I'm an avid sports fan and amateur sports participant. I mostly keep my support in-state, but I'm a diehard supporter of the Chicago Cubs. I suppose a fun fact about my amateur sports career is that I hold the distinction of holding a career ERA of 0.00 as a high school pitcher (just don't ask me about my career innings pitched). Lastly, I suppose a fun fact about myself and perhaps by extension my project is that I'm a big fan of the animated show King of the Hill, so much so that some of the show's material became inspiration for my proposal.

Summary of New Ideas proposal

My proposal was for a point-of-sale-based web extension that provides small business e-commerce solutions to consumers shopping on e-commerce conglomerates such as Amazon and Walmart. In my proposal, the goal of my project was to empower local communities to take back a sense of agency in their own economies that had been lost during globalization. As someone who has been both privileged enough to grow up in wealthy urban areas as well as rural Rust Belt communities, I had seen the political and economic differences in both. More importantly, my experiences have shown me just how damaging the role of multinational corporations can be for small business and development in rural communities, often extracting wealth from these places to never be returned. As a result, I hoped to create a solution that addressed one of the primary issues local small businesses face in competing with Amazon: a lack of competitive marketing and an inability to perform distribution at the same scale.  The platform was envisioned to function much like the popular web extension "Honey." Users could opt into downloading the extension on their browser of choice. When a user is searching for a product on a site like Amazon and is reaching the point-of-sale, the extension's algorithm would kick in and offer nearby small business e-commerce solutions that still fell within the customer's relative price range and fulfillment needs.

What does the New Ideas Competition mean to you?

To me, the New Ideas Competition was a sandbox to explore entrepreneurship. As someone who's very interested in creative problem solving, working inside entrepreneurial ecosystems, and just entrepreneurship altogether, it's still sometimes tough to explore that passion. Being a full-time college student rarely supports entrepreneurial passion, and even trying to ideate potential business ideas in the midst of your environment often seems challenging, scary, and maybe even wrong. What the Fuqua School of Business was able to create though in the New Ideas Competition was a welcoming space to challenge those feelings, all while trusting our generation to be the problem solver of the issues we're concerned about. 

Advice for new applicants:  

Channel your own experiences and be the problem solver of the issues near and dear to you. I don't think I saw one presentation where the winner wasn't either deeply concerned about the problem they hoped to solve or had a personal stake in the development of their idea through experiencing the problem firsthand. I think this is what the New Ideas Competition is looking for, so be sure to be authentic and you'll certainly have their willingness to hear you out.