On a brisk winter day in February, 2009 high school students from a three county area gathered at Lansing Community College West Campus in Lansing, Michigan for Own a Business, Own Your Future: So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur, a special initiative funded by the federal Department of Labor through the Workforce Innovation and Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Grant and supported by the Mid Michigan Innovation Team (MMIT).
Student teams had worked on a business plan and pitch for a theoretical or actual business for weeks. On February 25th they came for advice and feedback. They reviewed their plans and practiced their pitches with local business owners and LCC faculty acting as coaches who discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the plans and pitches.
Teams made a 5-minute business pitch and shared their improved business plans with local entrepreneurs acting as judges.
The judges conferred and provided the teams with immediate feedback on their pitches. To provide more in depth feedback, the judges studied the business plans after the event and provided more detailed written feedback to students within a week.
Before the work of the day began, the students heard from Ryan Carter, a local entrepreneur who has met with success in more than one enterprise.
Organizers built on the strength of successful local entrepreneurs, the Small Business and Technology Development Center, LCC business faculty, Student Leadership Academy students, and members of the LCC chapter of the American Marketing Association to staff the event.
Plans for the 2010 competition are underway, and we are excited: due to the Coleman Grant, we will be able to give away cash awards. Stay tuned!