Calvin Competition Focuses On Plans

December 11, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — Presenting a full business plan before a panel of judges was a valuable exercise in what works and what doesn't in the business world for a trio of student teams in the final round of the recent bizPlan competition at Calvin College.

According to a news release, the contest came about when 2001 Calvin graduate Brett Logan partnered with Calvin’s engineering department and its new Enterprise Center to provide funds for cash prizes.

Logan, founder and owner of an aircraft cleaning company, said he hoped to provide more opportunities for Calvin students to practice entrepreneurship via the contest.

Steve VanderLeest, chair of the engineering department, shares Logan's vision.

"BizPlan 2007, the first business plan competition at Calvin," he said, "is just one of several endeavors that have been recently launched to promote entrepreneurism. Many Calvin students are interested in how to put their faith into action through creative innovation, creating jobs and business leadership."

Logan served as one of the judges and was joined by a group of businessmen with experience in everything from engineering to real estate law to nonprofit management.

Volturna, a team composed of five members — four electrical engineering majors and one accounting major—took first place in the competition with their plan to develop a transmitter that would allow people to send multimedia — YouTube videos, online TV episodes, PowerPoint presentations — from their laptops to a nearby TV screen through a wireless signal.

The engineers are using their idea to both fulfill the requirements for their engineering senior design project and to start a small electronics design company. The bizPlan competition was just the right place to test their idea with a knowledgeable business audience, team members said.

Besides the experience the competition gave to each participant, the prize money — $1,500 for first place — won't hurt either.

Volturna team members plan to use their prize money to develop their business idea further.

Organizers plan to hold the second bizPlan competition in the fall of 2008.

VanderLeest hopes that by offering a business plan writing workshop in the spring of 2008, the next competition will draw students from a variety of departments, from English majors hoping to start a proofreading business to recreation majors with a plan to start a personal training service.    

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