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GRCC students to present at MWest Challenge business venture competition

April 15, 2024 Grand Rapids, Mich. - Ten Grand Rapids Community College students will compete in this year’s MWest Challenge venture competition with the opportunity to win up to $3,000 for the best new business idea. 

A total of 26 student teams from six West Michigan colleges and universities will compete from 5 to 9 p.m. April 17 on the first floor of GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Building. One hundred student teams applied for the opportunity to compete by submitting a three-page executive summary, including 57 teams from GRCC. Teams from Aquinas College, Calvin University, Cornerstone University, Kendall College of Art and Design, and Kuyper College also were selected to compete.

The competition is like the “Shark Tank” television series that gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to secure business deals except, in this case, student entrepreneurs are competing for cash prizes while benefiting from feedback from a panel of judges and networking with investors.

GRCC students have won in each prize category over the past 10 years of the competition, said Felix Pereiro, professor and head of the Business Department. 

“GRCC students put in the hours necessary to compete against the very best college students in West Michigan - facing juniors, seniors, and MBA students from top four-year universities.” Pereiro said. “And their work and dedication will pay off, as it has in previous years.”

Student competitors from GRCC

Seven-minute finalist round with a first prize of $3,000, second prize of $2,250, and third prize of $1,500:

  • Nik Thomasma presenting The Waltz Method 
  • An alternate of Camila Garcia will present Havana Hideout in the event Thomasma is not able to present.

Three-minute Innovation Showcase pitch with two first prizes of $1,000, two second prizes of $750 and two third prizes of $500:

  • Juan Botello, Tristan Scheidel, and Amanda Hughes presenting P.A.S.S.: Personal Advice Support Services
  • Kaitlin Kamps presenting Animal Therapy Oasis 
  • Francisca Mata, Eduardo Armijo, Marissa Fraire, and Robert Bolthuis presenting Helping Hands
  • Camila Garcia presenting Havana Hideout

The following alternates will present during the Innovation Showcase in the event any of the originally selected candidates are not able to take part:

  • Ethan Veenstra and Miguel Suarez presenting Homekits
  • Larry Bovia presenting Healthy Hound
  • Sarah Strange and Liliana Arevalo presenting Happy Gardens

Full-time faculty, adjunct faculty and staff help make the MWest Challenge a success. Many thanks to all those involved including Tom Miller, Brent Alles, Kay Markovic, Daniel Anderson, John Sebestyen, Bill Gayle, Brian Daily, and Kim Lodewyk.

Faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to attend to support GRCC students. Please RSVP here

This story was reported by Amy Soper

Media Contact