Top student entrepreneurs at Grand Valley put their innovative business ideas on display, competing for cash prizes in the third annual Business Plan Competition, held March 23 in Loosemore Auditorium.
The competition was sponsored by the Seidman College of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The top seven undergraduate students pitched their business plans to members of the West Michigan business and entrepreneurship community in competition for cash prizes totaling $10,000. The seven were selected from an original pool of 32 entries over a grueling two month process.
Joe Pohlen (JTP Management) was the top winner; he was awarded $5,000 and an automatic berth in the West Michigan regional Business Plan Competition, to be held April 15. The second place winner was Luke Richard (G.R. Greens) who received $3,000 and the third place winner was Tyler Hering (HopTent Brewpub) who received $2,000.
Richard said he will use his prize money to explore starting a year-round produce company in the Grand Rapids area. “I can now start looking at acquiring a green house; that’s the first step,” he said.
Linda Chamberlain, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said: “Grand Valley is full of talented entrepreneurial students with great ideas, and the Business Plan Competition represents the best of the best. It is a fantastic opportunity for young entrepreneurs to get their ideas in front of the West Michigan business community, and begin the process of taking their innovative ideas to market.”
Pohlen will join the winners from competitions at Aquinas College, Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Davenport University, Grand Rapids Community College and Hope College in the Regional Business Plan Competition, which will be held at Davenport University on April 15.
For more information, contact the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at (616) 331-7257.