GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Calvin College helps college students flip their entrepreneurial concepts into actual companies with a brand new startup incubator that may assist join college students to the funding and mentorship they should get their corporations off the bottom.
The brand new Calvin Startup Storage was created by Calvin alumnus Jon VerLee, who donated $500,000 to the college to launch the brand new enterprise incubator, the college introduced this week. VerLee will volunteer his time over the subsequent 4 years to function director of the Startup Storage and Entrepreneur in Residence.
The incubator will likely be obtainable to only Calvin college students for the primary few years. However ultimately, VerLee needs to open up the Startup Storage to the broader West Michigan group, to present folks a possibility to pitch their enterprise concepts and get recommendation from Calvin school and alumni.
“The aim is to create 100 Christ-centered corporations within the subsequent 10 years,” VerLee stated in a ready assertion.
Calvin Faculty of Enterprise Dean Jim Ludema stated college leaders hope to convey different Calvin graduates and native enterprise house owners in to this system to supply mentorship to college students trying to begin their very own companies.
“(VerLee) will meet with these college students recurrently to assist coach them on their enterprise, after which he may also usher in a distinct entrepreneur each Wednesday to return and speak with the scholars and hearken to their concepts,” Ludema informed MLive on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
Ludema stated he envisions the Calvin alumni group to be actively concerned within the Startup Storage, and hopes different graduates will assist construct this system’s endowment to fund the enterprise incubator for years to return.
College students who take part in this system will be capable of apply for as much as $2,000 in startup funding for his or her companies, Ludema stated. The school may also assist join college students to potential buyers to assist develop their corporations.
The incubator will host Pitch-Up competitions and Shark Tanks the place college students can compete for seed funding for his or her companies, they usually’ll additionally be capable of compete in native and regional competitions, in accordance with a college information launch.
The Startup Storage will likely be open to college students from all majors at Calvin, not simply enterprise college students, Ludema stated.
“The concept is that college students can begin and develop companies that ship actual worth within the market and in addition function brokers of renewal of their communities,” he stated.
VerLee, a 2008 Calvin grad and former youth pastor, began a user-friendly church administration software program firm in 2014. He grew the enterprise to serve 9,000 church buildings, then offered in 2021 “for an quantity I’m nonetheless shocked by and blessed by,” VerLee stated in a press release offered by Calvin, not disclosing the quantity.
Upon promoting his firm, Jon VerLee stated he and his spouse Kerrie VerLee wish to assist unfold the success God has given them, which is how they got here up with the concept for the Startup Storage.
Calvin college leaders touted the brand new Startup Storage on Wednesday throughout a dedication ceremony for the college’s new Faculty of Enterprise constructing, which was officially unveiled final week after greater than a 12 months of development.
Calvin President Wiebe Boer stated the enterprise incubator is one in every of many new, thrilling packages the college is beginning up within the new enterprise college, which launched in 2021 because of a $22.25 million donation from an anonymous donor.
“This enterprise college will likely be educating younger folks learn how to be the very best leaders that may be in enterprise, learn how to assume past simply the underside line, and what’s the social and constructive social affect they’re creating for society,” Wiebe informed the media at Wednesday’s ceremony.
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