Students awarded for business proposals
In order to encourage young entrepreneurship on the Hill, Mark Johnson ’96 and Joe Boulous ’68 donated $15,000 toward the College’s first Entrepreneurial Alliance Business Competition, which took place April 9.
The competition included nine student business proposals in various stages of planning. In order to partake in the competition, students were required to participate in a series of entrepreneurial classes offered through the College’s Career Center. These classes focused on the basics of entrepreneurship. The topics included finances, marketing, how to make an elevator pitch, how to file a patent in addition to basic idea generating sessions.
The format of the competition involved a first round deliberation by six judges; three were member of the Board of Trustees, two were Colby alumni and one was an overseer. After the first round, the students with business proposals still in the running were called in for a question and answer session.
After the final round, the panel announced two winners. The panel awarded $5,000 to Benjamin Weinberger ‘11 for his second place idea, Our Homegrown Collective. Our Homegrown Collective “starts and maintains vegetable gardens in people's yards in the Chicago area,” and Weinberger plans to use “feces from...chickens as well as com-post collected from the customers...as fertilizer for the gardens,” according to the competition’s program. Sophomores Danny Garin ‘13, Marcus Josefsson ’13 and Noah VanValkenburg ’13 won $10,000 along with the first place title for their idea, My Fresh Maine, an online farmers market. When the business launches, My Fresh Maine, will provide an online service for overnight delivery of fresh produce and vegetables to individuals throughout New England and parts of New York state including New York City, though urban areas are the target market.
“The idea came after watching The Social Network too many times,” said Garin, “We just thought, ‘Man, that’s cool.’” After many screenings of the film, Garin and Josefsson began brainstorming about what does not currently exist in the world, and eventually stumbled on the untapped idea for an online farmers market. The idea formulated at the beginning of February, and now, just two months later, is being set into motion. VanValkenburg was skeptical at first, but after a week of strong consideration, his love of small businesses prevailed and they finally convinced him to join the team.
The business’s website is already up and they have acquired necessary licenses and received the company credit cards. The group is anxious to see the direction the company will take, and they hope to eventually take their business to the national level. Until this happens though, they will work on the My Fresh Maine project in tandem with completing their college education.