The regional competition will take place at 6 p.m. at Aquinas College. A total of 14 students representing seven educational institutions will compete.
The annual Idea Pitch allows students exactly 90 seconds to explain a new idea for a new business. First place winner Jeffrey Noel received $800 for his “BookHippie” idea, and Damion Harden earned the $300 award for second place with his “Glow n Walk” concept. Third Place and a $100 award went to Jennifer Vanderploeg for her “ArtMarket” pitch.
“All great businesses start with an idea,” said Felix Pereiro, GRCC’s Business Department Head, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Chairman of the Idea Pitch competition. “Our goal with this project is to help nurture that important creative spirit in every one of these participating students, and in doing so, help them in their path of turning their dreams into reality,” he said.
The top 15 finalists selected this year were:
Nicholas Hutchison Cleaning Bag-In-Box
Jennifer Vanderploeg ArtMarket
Kory Gill Creases out of Shoes
Albert Gardner Auto Progress Board
Kerri Curtis & Leann Brown Self Adjusting Bra
Heather McDonough Grand Rapids Brew Bus
Shayna Medendorp Giving a Helping Hand
Austin McKee CareView
Hope Cronkright Youth for Abstinence
Andrew Hartger Flash Thought
Carl Nystrom Custom Beer Pong
Jeffrey Noel BookHippie
Damion Harden Glow n Walk
Ashley S Calvert Hollywood Styles for Less
Nicholas T Whyatt Employee Review
Pereiro cites the entrepreneurial spirit behind the competition. “The entrepreneur’s main drive is to create. By solving customer’s problems entrepreneurs create true value in the marketplace and society,” he said. “Entrepreneurs – and the self-employed – are the economic engine that drives sustainable growth in the world, helping improving society’s standard of living in the process.”
The 4th Annual Idea Pitch Competition is made possible by the collaborative efforts of the West Michigan Colleges and Universities Group (WMCUG), which includes Aquinas College, Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Davenport University, Hope College, Grand Valley State University, and Grand Rapids Community College. WMCUG is committed to helping grow entrepreneurship in West Michigan.
Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.
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