As a college, Ivy Tech Northeast is involved in a lot. We hosted the local American Heart Association’s Heart Walk earlier this month. We marched in the Three Rivers Festival parade this summer. Next month, the A Reason to Taste fundraiser will bring hundreds of people to campus and provide them a taste of the culinary arts our students are capable of.
But the New Venture Competition is my very favorite. It’s when three student and alumni finalists compete to win $20,000 in start-up capital for their businesses. And oh, they put their hearts into it.
2014 marks its fourth year, and student and alumni entrepreneurs can sign up for the summer semester class that teaches business planning. This year, 12 students participated in the class, and three were selected as New Venture finalists:
- Beth Scholer, of Caregivers Kitchen, a company that teaches at-home caregivers recipes and cooking tips to help their often elderly clients
- Maggie Kitch, of Pure Power Nutrition, a business that provides four-week nutrition classes for area employers in an effort to make employees healthier.
- Heather Overmyer, of Events from Above, a catering and event-planning company that allows brides and grooms to choose all the details of their wedding.
The three finalists each gave a 15-minute presentation last night about their businesses, followed by a 15-minute Q&A session. The questions came from the judges, local business people and entrepreneurs who tried to figure out each businesses’ logistics and how likely it would be to succeed in Fort Wayne.
During the dinner, I ended up seated next to Beth, this year’s New Venture champion, and her family. Ivy Tech is in the business of changing lives–regardless of how corny that may sound, that really is the point, and at the New Venture Competition, that’s exactly what happens. The award money will help Beth promote and license Caregivers Kitchen. Olivia Fabian, the first New Venture champion, shared just how much the New Venture Competition helped her with OFabz Swimwear: She was able to move from making swimsuits one-by-one to a product-run format, eventually allowing wholesale orders.
Think you might want to give New Venture a try next year? Scroll about halfway down the page to learn more.
Best of luck to Beth, Maggie, and Heather–each woman has such a wonderful, innovative business idea. Here’s to success!