Hiram College

Maybe there is another Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates right here in Northeast Ohio, and with up to $9,000 in prizes at stake budding Hiram entrepreneurs will compete against their counterparts from eight other colleges to find out Wednesday March 28th as Hiram and the Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship hosts the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC) ideaLabs 2012 competition.

In the ideaLabs competition students from across the region compete for recognition for their ideas for new businesses, or improvements to existing businesses.

The idea is to encourage all students, from all disciplines to think about new venture ideas, applying the feasibility study methodology and answering the three key questions,” said Kay Molkentin, Director of the Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship. “The questions are ‘Is there a market?’ ‘Do the financials make sense?’ and ‘What resources are necessary?'”

Contestants ideas are judged by a panel of entrepreneurs and experts from throughout the region. This year’s judges are: J. Martin  Erbaugh, Chairman, Board of Advisors, CEBI, Kent State University  & Trustee, Burton D. Morgan Foundation; John Myers, Executive-in-Residence, University of Akron Research Foundation; Dorothy C. Baunach, President Emeritus, NorTech; Trevor Clatterbuck, Founder & CEO, Fresh Fork Market; and Mike Moloney, Director, EY Knowledge, Ernst & Young

Each EEC member school will hold their own campus competition to determine a student or team of students to represent them at ideaLabs.  This year’s contest will feature EEC members Ashland University, Baldwin Wallace College, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, John Carroll University, Hiram College, Kent State University, Lake Erie College, and The University of Akron. The EEC invites a tenth non-EEC institution to participate each year and this year that spot will be filled by the University of Mount Union.

Molkentin said the EEC colleges and universities are committed to providing practical, experiential and theoretical entrepreneurship education to Northeast Ohio college students of all disciplines.

“Beyond imparting the necessary classroom fundamentals, the EEC encourages students to explore new, innovative ideas in their quest to either create new enterprises or become entrepreneurs within existing organizations,” she said. “Entrepreneurs need to learn to compete, so this type of competition is a good introduction to the practical business world.”