The fifth annual Grace College Business Plan Competition will take place on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, in the Manahan Orthopedic Capital Center, 610 Wooster Rd., Winona Lake. Sponsored by the Grace College School of Business, the competition will feature four finalist teams comprised of Grace College students. A seven-person panel of area business executives will judge the competition: George Robertson, president of Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation; Lindy Breeden, executive vice-president of Farmer’s State Bank; Jeff Cahill, entrepreneur; Jeff Hodgson, entrepreneur-in-residence at Elevate Ventures; Michael Hall, owner of Hall and Marose Silveus Insurance; Caleb France, owner of Cerulean, and Chuck Christner, managing partner of RSM. Rob Parker, president and CEO of the Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce, will moderate the event.
The business plan competition is an extracurricular activity. Participating Grace College students began the process of qualifying and creating a business plan in November, 2015. They were shepherded by representatives from SCORE, a premiere small business advice and counseling organization. Retired business professionals from SCORE mentored the students throughout the competition process while Grace faculty advisors guided teams’ progress.
The students’ efforts will culminate on April 20. Each team will have 20 minutes to present their business plan and answer questions from judges. They will be evaluated on pre-competition activities, the written business plan, presentation, and feasibility of the concept. Cash prizes totaling $6,000 will be awarded, plus a website template from Data, Inc.
“The competition gives students an opportunity to apply their business knowledge,” said Al Grossnickle, associate professor of business at Grace College and director of the William P. Gordon Institute for Enterprise Development. “They learn how to launch beneficial, impactful companies through this practical experience.”
Competition finalists are CoolCorp, created by student Wes Gensch; Wish Upon a Button, created by students Megan Carpenter and Elisa Stump; Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery Specialists, created by students Amelia and Tiffany Schuman; and Hope Unfolded, created by students Ricardo Bedon and Adam Yoder.
“It’s amazing to see the students’ ideas and plans come to fruition,” Grossnickle continued. “We are eager to host the competition next Wednesday and see these students get one step closer to realizing their business dreams,” he said.
The 2016 Grace College Business Plan Competition is sponsored by Data, Inc., Elevate Ventures, Farmer’s State Bank, Hall and Marose Silveus Insurance, RSM and Wildman Business Group. The event is open to the public and media outlets. Presentations begin at 6:15 p.m. and conclude by 7:30 p.m. Winners will be announced at approximately 8 p.m.