Enactus|OU receives grant for Campbell’s “Let’s Can Hunger” project!

Our Enactus team has been selected to receive a $300 grant to complete Campbell’s Let’s Can Hunger project!

What’s their project idea?

It’s food for thought! They want to add variety to plates distributed by the Southeast Ohio Food Bank by providing dehydrated seasonal vegetables. Yum!

But how will they accomplish this?

The idea is to procure surplus vegetables from local farmers, dehydrate & package them and donate the packages to the SE Ohio food bank.

How will this benefit those who come to the food bank?

1. Dehydration is an effective and low cost method for preserving food and vegetables for the future.
2. To ensure our supply of summer vegetables during  the winter.
3. Avoid surplus summer production from getting wasted.

Stay tuned for more updates from Enactus‘ exciting project!

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StartUp Weekend; day two

Arriving during dinner of day two, only a few teams were left in the Innovation Center. Majority of the teams went out into Athens to gather market research information using surveys and testimonials. Teams have just under 24 hours left till presentations begin and the weekend concludes.  Each team meets with six coaches to discuss their business models, to help discover the holes they may have in their MVP (minimal viable product). The coaches offer different tips based on their various background and skills such as engineering, professional sales and marketing, business consultation, economic development, information technology and entrepreneurship.

With assistance of the skilled coaches and facilitators, each team has excellent resources at their fingertips. Although after speaking with teams, I begin to feel the frustration on finding an appropriate balance between your vision with sometimes conflicting professionals vision. As teams learn more about their target markets, teams may alter their original pitch idea.

“It’s not uncommon for teams to modify or pivot their initial pitch throughout the course of day two,” says Anna Jensen, a business consultant for the Innovation Center and facilitator for StartUp Weekend.IMG_50744

A large part of StartUp weekend is discovering the target market and honing in on the functionality of business plan within the market. The teams must conduct basic market research to prove that their solution to a problem is the best one. I got the privilege to follow one of the teams to see them conduct their research through administering surveys at a Human verses Zombie meeting to see if their newly designed nerf gun blaster is something their target market would invest in or need. I found this product intriguing because it had a specific target market in mind from the original design.

One team, FordIt, went to stores to ask shoppers questions about their budgeting habits. While others, created surveys online and used social media to collect data. One group in particular, Reel, worked on creating video testimonials on the practicality of their video editing app.

In the short few hours that I’ve spent attending StartUp weekend I’ve had an overwhelming feeling that this weekend is not solely about competing for the first place position but it’s about learning and making connections that can be applied to each members business plan. Participants work closely with one another and with coaches. Everyone is helping everyone else succeed.  It’s not just about winning, it’s about learning the process involved in taking an idea and growing it into a viable business and doing it in an extremely short time period. If you are fortunate enough to win StartUp weekend, there are great prizes that can assist the participants in implementing their idea and changing their dream into reality.

Stay tuned for the results from StartUp weekend.

StartUp Weekend; the first four hours

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Four hours down, fifty to go. StartUp weekend has taken off. Teams are working vigorously through the night to organize and “idea dump” anything and everything for their products. Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Let’s rewind the clock a few hours back to the beginning.

Walking into Ohio University’s Innovation Center during registration for StartUp weekend, I could feel the enthusiasm and excitement to get started. The loud music playing helped set the energy for the rest of the evening. Some participants were going table-to-table trying to sell their business ideas and gather a team of followers for the 54-hour competition.

Anyone can be a part of StartUp weekend. You don’t need an idea, pitch or even a team. All you need is a desire to learn about the business model and entrepreneurship. Those that have an idea participate in a quick 60-second PitchFire where they state the societal problem and how to solve it in hope to be selected in a small handle full of finalists. The participants vote on the finalists, and unfortunately some ideas are not selected, but participants whose ideas that are not selected are still encouraged to join other groups to gain experience in a using the business model canvas and creating in teams their MVP’s.

An MVP, in business terms, “is the absolute minimal viable product a team must create in order for it to be successful,” said Jon Rossi, a facilitator for StartUp weekend.

At the end of the 54 hours, teams will present their MVP to a panel of judges to win up to  $1,650 in prizes, a six-month membership to the Innovation Center and a one-hour business consultation with Chief Operating Officer Matt Strader of imgur.

In the next few hours, I went around team by team to sit in and observe their project management brainstorming. The chosen products ranged from engineering more efficient adult nerf guns to creating an online database for OU alumni and current students to purchase textbooks to creating mobile applications for voice memos for corporate business professionals.

Participant Ihlana Mumford wants to “change the picture of videography” by creating an app that allows simplicity to video editing all at your fingertips.

While observing each team, whether having two, three or seven members, they were all diligently working on defining their core features and customer relationships models for their products on a business model canvas. Several teams were writing on marker boards, others post-it noting thoughts while some were just having dialogue. I felt included in some teams as they asked me about my opinions of their products even though they are under a time crunch to prepare and organize for the next day. I am intrigued to see all they’ve accomplished through the night and start of day two.

To check out what other StartUp weekends around the globe are doing, go to www.startupweekend.org

OUE Visits Don Wood Automotive

045On October 17, 2013 members of Ohio University Entrepreneurs visited Don Wood’s Toyota car dealership to learn about his story of becoming an entrepreneur. Don Wood invited some of his staff, bankers that lend to him personally, an insurance agent, as well as a leader of Hocking College to hear him speak. Luke Pittaway and some of his entrepreneurship students came along for the presentation as well. His story was truly one of triumph and his success didn’t come without much difficulty and many obstacles along the way.

Don Wood was really excited to speak to us and talked about being able to give back to those of us that want to be entrepreneurs. Some of the words that really stuck with us after his presentation were that experience overweighs cash. Also, integrity is key to running a good business. If an owner cuts corners and takes the easy way out it only creates more problems later on in the future, a lesson he learned after buying the dealership from the previous dealer. He also had a lot of support from his family along the way that made his success possible.

For those who don’t know who Don Wood is, he owns the majority of car dealerships on East State Street in Athens.  Don Wood is inspirational to all business owners andDW those of us that want to follow in his footsteps could all learn from him.

Dealers are typically seen as being greedy and will do anything to make a deal, but Don Wood focuses on the customer service for his customers and retains about 70-75% of his customers. This is because of his character and his commitment to always do the right thing.  Soon in the future, OUE will be inviting him back to speak with us again so that we will be able to gain more insights. He is a great person to network with and is excited to help all of us in any way that he can. OUE cannot wait to host him again in the future.

Written by Erin Belka

Startup Weekend Athens Ohio starts in a little over 24 hours!

Startup Weekend Athens Ohio starts in a little over 24 hours!

It isn’t too late to register for Startup Weekend Athens Ohio! The event kicks off tomorrow night (Friday, October 18th) and wraps up Sunday.

Daniel Williams attended Startup Weekend Athens Ohio last year, and now works with Anyvent, an up-and-coming event planning program.

Read about what he has to say about his experience at Startup Weekend on the Startup Weekend Athens Ohio blog and find out why you should participate, too!

Canvas My Campus: Win a Trip to San Francisco!

CanvasMyCampusA college campus is more than just a collection of beautiful buildings. It’s more than that favorite bench you always sit on to catch the first rays of spring, or the study table in the back corner of the library you always snag for group meetings.

At its best, a college campus is an inflection point of enlightenment, creative energy, and inspiration–a place where students, professors, researchers, and alumni come together to think big, follow their dreams, and challenge the status quo. It’s that opportunity of discovery–and the incredible stories of the people pursuing it–that make your school unlike any other place in the world.

So show your entrepreneurship experience.

Show your amazing skills and talents–and those of your friends and fellow students. Show the professors who inspire and empower you to be the best version of yourself or the incredible researchers who are pursuing groundbreaking discoveries that could impact your life and those around you. Show the alumni and school leaders who are already helping change the world.

Grab some images, record some video, add some text, and let your creativity run wild. Show the special things about Ohio that make you want to climb a mountain, raise your arms in the air, and shout at the top of your lungs, “OU! OH YEAH!

This is your chance. Prezi is your canvas.

Canvas My Campus Rules

Open to current full-time Ohio students who are 18-29 years old, have an interest in entrepreneurship, and are willing/able to travel to San Francisco in the Spring 2014.

Students may complete their Prezi presentation as individuals or as part of a team.

For verification purposes, all individuals or team members participating in this contest must have a school email address ending in “.edu” to create a Prezi account.

Click here for more information, including Official Rules.

Canvus My Campus Grand Prize

Two winning Prezi creators will receive a FREE 2014 spring trip to the Prezi San Francisco office, where you will have a chance to network and receive advice from tech industry insiders (hotel and airfare included).

Act fast! The competition ends on Oct. 25 at 11:59 pm PT!