By: Deborah Johnson Wood
Three Grand Valley State University students took top honors at the second annual Lakeshore’s Next Top Entrepreneur challenge November 21. Lakeshore Advantage hosted the event, which featured nine entrepreneurial hopefuls from GVSU, Hope College and Davenport University.
Brian Rider took first place with Digital Wingman — 3-D floor plans that enable college students to view and design their own dorm rooms in a virtual environment. The software uses the dimensions of actual dorms on client campuses — the latest of which is Texas State University San Marcos.
Rider’s winnings include $1,000 cash, three hours of free legal consultation from Cunningham Dalman, three hours of design time from Tiger Studios, and a three-month membership to the Lakeshore Business Garden, a business incubator.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized by Lakeshore Advantage,” Rider says. “They have a real impact on entrepreneurial initiatives. States with successful economies, a good portion of their jobs are in the Stage 1 and Stage 2 companies, and Lakeshore Advantage is trying to diversify Michigan’s economy to make it healthier.”
Tyler Way landed second place and $350 with his artful custom-designed sneakers. He promotes them to professional athletes and celebrities under the name T Way Customs.
Third place and $200 went to Tom Mort for his device that helps municipalities perform mandatory investigations of illicit storm water discharges. The device continuously monitors water quality within storm sewers.
“All of the students came highly organized, excited and motivated about their ideas,” says Amanda Chocko, Lakeshore Advantage’s director of entrepreneurial development. “Lakeshore Advantage sees the value of entrepreneurs to our economy. They can bring that creativity and vision to wherever they plant their roots, whether they start their own business or work for another company.”
Source: Amada Chocko, Lakeshore Advantage; Brian Rider, Digital Wingman
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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.