Start Garden begins 100 Ideas initiative
Start Garden has rolled out a new initiative to turn entrepreneurial ideas into reality.
Aspiring entrepreneurs, 14 and older, now have the opportunity to pitch their ideas within 100 seconds for the next 100 days on Start Garden’s website.
Jorge Gonzales, one of three directors on the leadership team at Start Garden, said he expects to see more than 500 ideas submitted.
After the deadline, April 10, a panel of entrepreneurial experts will narrow the submissions to 100 ideas. Those ideas will be announced at a 5x5 Pitch Night Competition at Start Garden on April 24.
The individuals behind those winning ideas will each get $1,000 to begin the process of launching a business.
“We realize that it is a (small amount) of money, but it is enough that (they) might be able to do some research, market analysis or figure out who (their) competitors are,” Gonzales said.
On July 10, those entrepreneurs will re-convene and present their cases for additional funding at 20 Monroe Live.
Gonzales said after their presentations, Start Garden is hoping to select 10 ideas and give those entrepreneurs an additional $20,000, so they can expand on their business ideas.
They will also be granted resources, such as legal and/or marketing referrals with the goal of launching those 10 new businesses at the end of the year.
Darel Ross II, a Start Garden director, said the new initiative will help to break the stereotype of entrepreneurship in West Michigan.
“We know that entrepreneurship and small businesses are about ideas, and we also know that ideas don't have boundaries, although funding and investment a lot of times in the city of Grand Rapids did,” Ross said. “What Start Garden is about now is about empowering ideation.
“The $100,000 for 100 ideas is just the beginning. This is our beginning of investment of millions of dollars over the next several years into the local ecosystem to give great people with great ideas the same opportunities that some of us have been enjoying for a long time.”
The competition is set to become an annual event, where 10 businesses are launched each year.
The initiative is sponsored by various financial institutions and community foundations.
Start Garden will continue to spread its new initiative at pop-up events:
• LINC, Jan. 5, 5-11 p.m.
• Other Way Ministries, Jan. 11, 3-8 p.m.
• Creston Brewery, Jan. 25, 4:30-7 p.m.
• Goei Center, Feb. 1, 4-7 p.m.
• Amplify GR, Feb. 8, TBD
• Startup Weekend @Start Garden, Feb. 10, TBD
• Cook Library Center, Feb. 20, TBD
• Start Garden, Feb. 28, 4-7 p.m.
• Baxter Community Center, March 8, 4-7 p.m.
• Start Garden, March 22, 4-7 p.m.