Next fall, Goshen College students are invited to participate in the Idea Development class, a seven-week long course offered in the second half of the semester.

Students enrolled in the course will have the chance to come up with a great idea (some may come into the class with a great idea already in mind), and then they will spend the seven weeks developing those ideas.

The goal for the course is to have students develop a plan to implement their great idea, and by the end, each student can make a pitch for a possible grant of up to $1,000 to execute their plan.

What constitutes a great idea, though, is pretty broad.

“It could be anything,” Michelle Horning, professor of accounting, said, “as long as the student can demonstrate that it impacts the community in a positive way.”

Essentially, the idea needs to make the panel say, “Wow, what a great idea!”

In an effort to acknowledge the ideas students have, the business department is making money from the student entrepreneurship fund available for those ideas that aren’t necessarily thought of as business ventures.

“The mindset is similar,” Horning said. “But we want to expand the idea of what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset and give people room to be creative and have fun.”

Horning says that the tendency when people hear entrepreneurship is that they automatically assume that means starting a business, but she recognizes that’s not what everyone with a great idea is looking to do.

“We’re trying to push on that idea a little bit,” she said. “Entrepreneurship can be about an idea, implementing an idea and seeing what happens. A lot of businesses happen because of a vague idea or a problem that needs to be solved.”

The great idea can be a one-time event or it could be an ongoing thing.

For those wanting to apply for the grant, registration in the class is required, but the class is open for all who want to work on developing an idea. At the end of the course, students can apply for the grant, but funding is not automatic.

The panel responsible for choosing who gets the entrepreneurship grants is usually made up of business department faculty, but it hasn’t yet been decided who will serve on the panel for the great idea grants.

There is no maximum number of grants to be awarded, but the panel will need to look at how much students are asking for and how much is available to give before making any decisions.

“I would be sure we could fund several ideas,” Horning said, with a rough estimate of five or six. “But that depends on if everyone asked for $1,000 or $500.”

At this point, students interested in a great idea grant only need to sign up for the class.

“Our goal is to really encourage people to be pushing boundaries of what is possible,” Horning said. “We want it to be something creative, different and interesting.”