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Local College Students prepare to Compete in Model Design Competition

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By Lauren Winther

Young entrepreneurial students from all across West Michigan will come together to compete in the very first MWest Competition in hopes of winning a $20,000 award to use to start a new venture.

Each school participating in the event will also be contributing prize money.

“There are eight colleges and universities who are participating in this competition and they are sponsoring the prize money,” said Shorouq Almallah, Operations Manager at The Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Grand Valley State University.

“However, we are still fundraising and looking for corporate sponsors.  We are hoping to reach at least $30,000 for the prize pool.”

Amy Koning, Associate Dean of Operations in the School of Workforce Development, is representing GRCC in this partnership.

“GRCC has always been part of the planning for the past events that Michigan Colleges and Universities Group has sponsored, whether it is from hosting the regional Idea Pitch two years ago to even a first place winner of the regional Business Plan competition a few years back,” Koning said.  “We want to provide an opportunity where by our students can showcase their talents throughout the community.  And we definitely have talent.”

In addition to several cash prizes, participants will have access to resources, mentors, and other educational tools. They can also use this event to network with investors.

Those wishing to compete must be currently attending the participating colleges and universities at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Teams can be made up of students representing one or more of the participating universities. They must also work with an adviser over the duration to help them through the process.

“We realize that not every institution may have a whole team with the skill set needed to advance their ideas, so it was designed in a way that teams could truly be collaborative throughout West Michigan, regardless of their home college,” said Koning.

Teams that have already received any type of venture capital may not participate.

 

Those interested should be aware of these dates:

Nov. 14, 2013: Kickoff event at Kendall College of Art and Design, 17 Fountain St, Woodbridge N. Ferris Building, Room 217.

Nov. 28, 2013: “Intent to Participate” Form Due

Jan. 17, 2014: Executive Summary for Judges Review

Feb. 7, 2014: Judges Review and Feedback Due

March 21, 2014: Business Plans Due

April 4, 2014: Final Competition Date

For more information visit www.mwestchallenge.com