IDEA Club Looks to Fall of Growing Bold Business Plans
By Michael Ferraresi
GCU News Bureau
The idea with GCU’s Innovation, Development & Entrepreneurship Association is to enable students to grow their own businesses.
So IDEA appears to be a great idea: a campus club where GCU entrepreneurs have the opportunity to be their own boss, to innovate their own business models.
IDEA is following up this fall on its successful spring 2012 debut, which included the Canyon Challenge business plan competition. Last year, 44 people submitted pitches. Five finalists, including a coffee company and microbrewery, made presentations at GCU Arena for a panel of judges.
Tim Kelley, the Ken Blanchard College of Business assistant professor who launched the IDEA club earlier this year, said part of the focus with the club this semester is on creating an “incubator program” where people and their ideas can find the necessary support.
“Part of the purpose of the club is to give people with that entrepreneurial spirit a forum to be encouraged,” Kelley said.
The winner of the spring IDEA Canyon Challenge, the interactive sports memorabilia company, The Fan Post, won the $3,500 grand prize. Kelley helped run a similar competition through Thunderbird School of Global Management nearly 10 years ago. He said some universities’ business plan competitions generate thousands and thousands of dollars in angel investments.
Kelley said the Fan Post group had refined an existing business plan for their items, like customizable goal posts and basketball backboards with NFL or NBA logos, through their work with IDEA. Winning the grand prize helped the small company expand.
IDEA will host the Canyon Challenge in March, though the event will likely take place at Ethington Theatre rather than GCU Arena, Kelley said.
IDEA’s website – ideagcu.igloocommunities.com – is designed to serve as a “collaborative tool” where students can share ideas, glean answers from their peers, and learn about classmates’ projects. For example, a student entrepreneur in need of a copywriter for a project could find a match made in heaven, right on a KBCOB campus-based website.
Kay Nwe Win, a GCU nursing master’s student, said she hoped to participate in IDEA events to learn how to develop her student mentorship business idea. Win, 28, works at GCU’s KBCOB as an instructional assistant at KBCOB after earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from GCU in May.
Three weeks ago, Win launched Private Tutoring Success – a business she hoped to grow into a personalized tutoring service for college students, but that could be scalable in other areas. She said she wanted to link up with others through IDEA to learn about effective business licensing and registration.
“I just have to get resourceful, ask the right people and take the steps to take to make it successful,” Win said. “I’m in the little confusion stage right now.”
Kelley said entrepreneurship is one of the pillars of KBCOB, and the IDEA club is designed to put students in touch with the information they need to meet their business development goals.
“A surprising number of students go to work for family businesses,” Kelley said. “We look at the opportunities for these kids out of the school… the odds are they’re going to work for a small- to mid-sized company that came out of an entrepreneurial venture.”
Kelley has formed several multimillion dollar companies, including a real estate operation based in Mexico City. Two of his companies develop Spanish language immersion programs for students as young as 2 years old.
This summer he traveled to Colombia, Ireland, Angola, Mexico, and England. He also serves as COO of the Entrepreneur Opportunity Fund, a multimillion private equity fund.
Contact Michael Ferraresi at 639.7030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.