For the last 10 years, the Goshen College business department has been providing funds for students to start businesses as a part of the Venture Planning course. The business department selects ventures to fund based on the student’s passion for the idea, their understanding of the venture, and how well this venture would do in the long-term.This year, there are five different ventures being proposed by seniors Mikhail Fernandes, Peter Schrock, Brian Sutter and Dean Nafziger along with juniors Maddie Gerig and Preston Carr.
“My proposal is to build an online e-commerce platform for students,” Mikhail Fernandes said. He sees the platform allowing students to be able to purchase textbooks, bicycles, fridges and more in an easier and newer way.
Peter Schrock and Brian Sutter are working together to launch a venture specializing in website real estate development. Essentially this venture would entail buying, developing, and then selling websites.
Preston Carr plans on starting a hydro seeding venture, and Dean Nafziger is working on a hypothetical meat shop venture to sell meat produced by local farmers.
Maddie Gerig described her venture plan as an opportunity to expand her pottery business to “online sales, local businesses, and my own gallery space.” Gerig is working on developing coffee and beer mugs, cups, and pints in addition to her other pottery pieces. If she were to receive the business department grant, Gerig plans on purchasing essential studio materials and covering start-up costs.
“I am gearing part of my body of work towards local businesses, including Goshen Brewing Company, Thomas Steiglitz Brewing, Found Gallery, The Brew and Menno Tea by designing functional pottery with their logo,” Gerig said, going on to outline the third aspect of her plan—to create a mobile gallery out of an old airstream trailer. “The gallery would be on display at local art fairs and during First Fridays and other local, public events,” she said.
Past ventures that have been successful include Springer Design and Studio Ace of Spade, two businesses in downtown Goshen that were started by students. Menno Tea is also a recent startup that was funded by the business department. More than $70,000 has been awarded to students in the last 10 years.
“Approximately half of the recipients were business department students and the other half came from other academic majors,” said Michelle Horning, the business professor in charge of the Venture Planning class. “Students who receive funding may receive academic credit for their continued work on the venture by working with the business department faculty to develop short-term goals and implementing a plan over the course of the semester. This allows students to receive expert advice and assistance from faculty who have experience in launching ventures.”
There isn’t one definite winner, so any number of ventures can receive funding. If the venture is selected, the student will receive the amount of money they asked for in their presentation.
There will be a Goshen College version of ABC’s Shark Tank hosted by these Venture Planning students held on Monday, October 12 from 10 to 11 a.m. in Newcomer.