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Idea competition moves ahead

By Mark Bashore, WKAR


A Lansing economic development group is zeroing in on the area's "Next Bright Idea." That's the name of a competition for college-aged entrepreneurs organized by LEAP--the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. The public will help determine the winner, who will receive five-thousand dollars and other prizes. Dan Redford is an MSU Senior and entrepreneur who's helping organize the contest. WKAR's Mark Bashore sat down with Redford and asked him what organizers hope to accomplish.


Dan Redford: "We want to get students talking. We want to get them to understand that there are resources here for them in greater Lansing. The perception about this area and about Michigan in general is that things are down, and there's not a lot of potential for you to flourish here. We want students to kinda feel like they own a part of the community by actually having and starting and developing their idea right here."

Mark Bashore: "Can you tell us about an idea submitted that strikes you as promising?"

DR: "Yeah, sure. There's an idea by a fellow named Joe Eastman, it's called Rounding Up America,' and he would probably be able to explain it better than I would but the idea is...we spend all this money and you go to the gas pump--just as an example--and you end up spending $19.87. And it's kind of an awkward thing and maybe you put it on your credit card. And his idea is to---and we all like to round up---so his idea is instead of rounding up to pay for the gas, why not use that 13-cents to put toward some sort of innovation or some type of non-profit to help out the community? So that's kind of an interesting idea I thought that was put up on the website."

MB: "You're a business-owner yourself, which is how you got involved in the Next Bright Idea competition. Your business, Spotlight Campus Consulting, is helping organize the competition. Do your peers in general, strike you as entrepreneurial minded, more so maybe than your parent's generation?"

DR: "That's an interesting question. I think that entrepreneurs tend to find each other. And so on campus, now that I've started to become-- in my own mind--an entrepreneur, I've been able to, not coincidentally, find pockets of people on campus that are and pockets that I didn't know were so big and so vast .and these intangible networks of students that are entrepreneurial, and a lot of students have started their own business. So I think if you have an eye for it, I guess the answer to that question is I think that there is this rise of a creative class of students, of young people, that are becoming entrepreneurial with these on-line applications. I think everybody can (be), and really is, an entrepreneur in some way, maybe more so than our previous generation."

MB: "Now the competition is closed to new entries at this point, but the public picks up the ball now and they play an important role in determining the winner. How does that work?"

DR: "Yeah, on the 25th a voting period will take place. So you can go online and we encourage you to do so. It's at nextbrightidea.com. And look up all the ideas and pick through and figure out which ones are your favorites. Then you get to vote and I think you can vote once a day, so you get to pick the top 10. So from the 25th to the 14th, the community will go online and vote. And their top 10 vote getters will then compete in the competition on the 25th somewhere in downtown Lansing for the final prize."

MB: "And the final prize is?"

DR: "$5,000. That's right, $5,000 for a student idea. I know it's hard to believe. We also have a Dale Carnegie scholarship to help give students that are getting the money (to) give good presentations and have good leadership skills. LEAP also has a business springboard program that they can tell you more about that are also gonna help buffer the $5,000 so that when we give it away, the person will have some kind of foundation to help implement their ideas in a quality way."

MB: "Dan Redford, good luck. Thanks for joining us."

DR: "Yeah thanks. My pleasure."

For more, visit:

reWorking Michigan
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