Niagara University students care about the challenges related to food, hunger and nutrition faced by so many residents of the City of Niagara Falls. They have responded in almost overwhelming numbers to the opportunity to find new and innovative ways to aid these residents.
Registration for EntrepreNU2015 has closed and the number of participants has exceeded organizers' expectations.
More than 100 students registered to form more than 30 different teams. Participants represent all four colleges, with the College of Business Administration leading the way. The colleges of Arts and Sciences and Hospitality and Tourism Management, however, also saw more than two-dozen students register.
Dr. Anna McNab, an assistant professor in the College of Business Administration and one of the core members of the EntrepreNU organizing team, put these numbers in perspective.
"We have always had high hopes for this competition, but receiving more than 100 student registrations for our inaugural year showed us that Niagara University students really do have a special place in their hearts for using their talents to help others in their community," she said. "As a point of comparison, a business pitch competition run last year that also had a cash prize attached to it, but did not come with such a strong connection to the Vincentian mission, received only about one-fifth of the number of registrations."
To date, students have attended a discussion on poverty led by Dr. Corey Bower, a presentation on accessing healthy foods by Field & Fork Network co-founder Lisa Tucker, and a series of workshops on creative and innovative thinking by Jim Wardlaw, founder of Stitch, Brand and Culture.
Over the coming weeks, students will meet with community members to learn more about the realities and challenges they confront to put healthy food on the table. Students will receive assistance on how to develop a basic business plan and put together a convincing business pitch. As part of the final submission, teams must prepare a brief video, a three-to-five-page concept paper, and a modified business plan canvas.
Designed to showcase the creativity and innovation possessed by Niagara students while addressing a compelling social issue, EntrepreNU is offering cash prizes of $500 for the top three ideas. These teams, along with other top proposals, will move into the final round in the spring semester, when they will be given additional assistance to develop their proposal into a full plan. In March, the winning team will receive up to $10,000 in startup funds, plus the opportunity to raise additional funds and resources to implement its plan.
For more information on the competition, visit www.niagara.edu/entreprenu.
To learn more about Niagara University, visit www.niagara.edu.