3 GRCC teams win awards in MWest Challenge



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213


May 16, 2017 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Three Grand Rapids Community College teams were winners at the recent MWest Challenge student venture competition.

Through MWest Challenge, sponsored by the West Michigan Colleges and Universities Group, students can develop and grow new ventures based on their own ideas. This year, teams from nine West Michigan colleges and universities competed for $45,000 in cash and prizes. The two-month competition also includes workshops and opportunities for students to network with investors. 

All 13 GRCC teams had their executive summaries accepted for presentation during the final round of the competition on April 21. The three GRCC teams winning prizes were:

Shelby Rose received $1,500 as the second-place winner of the Innovation Showcase People's Choice Award. Her proposal, a phone app called Rose's Place, would allow domestic violence victims to unlock resources, advice and emergency contact help.

"Participating in the MWest Challenge has been one of the greatest learning experiences in my college career so far," she said. "I was able to push myself out of my comfort zone in sharing my story -- showing people that when a tragedy hits, look up and see how you can find the problem and make a change." 

Rose said she got involved in the competition through her Marketing Problems course (BA 272) with Felix Pereiro, professor and head of the Business Department.

"Before the MWest Challenge, I couldn't really see myself as an entrepreneur," she said. "Now, just three short months after starting MWest, I couldn't be more excited to become an entrepreneur with a goal of helping others overcome challenges." 

Mark Saint Amour and Andrew Johnson won a $750 Impact Award. Their proposal, Tabletop Entertainment, would rent out space and partner with local craft breweries to host tournaments featuring life-size versions of popular board games.  

Rebecca Peterman won the $500 Impact Award for Wholesome Eats, a company that would provide healthy and affordable meals created in a client’s home. Services would include meal planning, grocery shopping, food preparation and kitchen cleanup.

Pereiro points out that the students' MWest achievements are the culmination of hours of practice and preparation. 

“This is a special accomplishment for our students as they work toward their associate degree,” he said. “Shelby, Mark, Andrew, and Rebecca 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 in West Michigan -- and their work and dedication paid off.”

The other GRCC teams were:

  • Mommy Hub, with Justin Konsdorf, Alex Brown, Sydney Zeien, Ben Steenwyk and Carissa Moshauer.
  • Rear View Innovations, with Christopher Seeley.
  • K Cleaning Concepts, with Kevin Klutman.
  • Loop Coding Center, with Jose Meza and Angel Barreto.
  • Essential Life Preparation Academy, with Martin Uchendu and Brittany Glanton.
  • Ola’s Oatmeal, with Jalisa Hill, Margaret Yerke and Elizabeth Bush.
  • Blue Bridge Beer Fest, with Amanda Hadd, Catie Howe, Olivia Silveri, Travis Meyer and Ethan Nutkins.
  • Project C.O.O.L., with Amanda Hadd.
  • Play & Date for Mates, with Anna Mansfield and Olivia Brazle.
  • The Shop Supermarket, LLC, with Keyon Hall and Andre Shepherd.

While the teams were supported by Business Department faculty and staff, students also received valuable help from other departments, including Computer Information Systems and the business tutorial and computer lab, Pereiro said. 

"Competitive events, such as MWest Challenge, help our GRCC students improve and polish their skills so they are better able to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive marketplace," he said. "They learn for themselves what entrepreneurs go through during the early startup stage and the hard work that goes into creating an outstanding executive summary and idea pitch."

GRCC's Business Department offers programs in accounting, business administration, management and supervision, marketing and office administration, and certificates in entrepreneurship and marketing. 

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.