Top 15 Ideas Chosen for GRCC "Idea Pitch" - Top Three Ideas Win Prize Money, Advance to Regional Competition

Grand Rapids Community College has picked the top 15 student finalists in the college’s second annual Idea Pitch, a competition that allows students exactly 90 seconds to explain their new idea for a new business.  These chosen 15 now advance to the Competition & Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, October 18 where they present their ideas to judges.

The event will be held in room 168 of the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center Auditorium at 6 PM on GRCC’s main downtown campus and is open to the public.
According to Felix Pereiro, GRCC Business Department professor and chair of the event, the Idea Pitch Competition gives area college students – and future entrepreneurs –  the opportunity to pitch a well planned idea to a panel of distinguished judges “with passion and in an exciting and professional manner,”

“It is our goal at GRCC to help people in our community turn their dreams into reality; to explore the possibilities of reimagining a better world; and to help nurture that creative spirit in every human being,” said Pereiro.  “All great businesses start with an idea.”  

The 15 finalists selected are:

Name | Idea

  • Rebecca Jung | Throw Out the Manual
  • Joe Woodruff | Home Saver
  • Allison Braunshausen | Smiles for Hope
  • Brennan Higgins    | Point of View Books
  • Katelyn Schanz | Lap Batt
  • Ben Szost | Music Social
  • Brittany Oosterink | Fashion Tag
  • Matt Huber | Helmet Hud
  • Olga Sarayeva | Lunch & Learn
  • Dallas McCulloch | High Yield Homebrew
  • Whitney Potter | Diversity Dolls
  • Jeffrey Noel | Senior Tech
  • Corrie Elsbrie | Ear Buds for the Hearing Impaired
  • Vanessa Gore, Matt Stuart, Larry Figures | ScanTree
  • Michael Corn & Danielle Gore | ENTRPRSR

Students can present alone or with others, but no props, products or PowerPoints are allowed. Following the 90-second pitch, the presenters must answer judges’ questions.  The top three students will be awarded $800, $300 and $100, respectively.

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 top two winners go on to a higher level of competition on November 3 to compete against the top winners of other participating colleges/universities for prizes of $1500 (first) , $1000 (second) and two third place prizes of $500 each.   This regional portion of the Idea Pitch Competition will be held at Davenport University.

Pereiro, who has seen these types of competitions before, says that the presentation is “just plain good experience for students whether they want to start a business, are thinking about a business idea, and even for students who just need to sharpen their presentation skills.”

For complete details on the Idea Pitch Competition, individuals can visit

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.