GOSHEN — The stakes weren’t as high as the show “Shark Tank,” but for entrepreneurs in Goshen, June 23 was a chance to get their business ideas out in public to the rest of the Goshen business community.
“We have a very entrepreneurial spirit,” said one of the judges, Melissa Kiney. “The history is long in Elkhart County in general and Goshen specifically.”
That entrepreneurial spirit resulted in pitches for everything from high-tech drones to help construction and engineering projects, to a canoe rental that would work like a biking ride share, to a bakery focusing just on cheesecakes.
It was a chance for people to show where they got their entrepreneurial spirit.
“I made a cheesecake one day for my mom,” said Chelsea Ramer, whose pitch wound up winning a $3,000 grant. “She loved it and everyone else loved it, so I thought, I must be pretty good at it!”
Sharing the background on those stories does more than just explain how an idea came into being.
“They’re very creative,” Kinsey said. “I think that those stories will take it [the business idea] forward too.”
While a $5,000 grant split three-ways isn’t going to propel any of these ideas to immediately land on the Fortune 500, it will go a long ways towards getting them off the ground.
“It’s going to help a lot,” Ramer said. “I will be able to get the necessary equipment to jump start my business.”
Ultimately, tonight was about more than just business. It was a chance for a room full of people to share their passions and encourage each other to move forward with their dreams.
“One thing I always tell my students is don’t take a job just to do a job,” Kinsey said. “Do something you’re passionate about and make a difference in the community. That’s what these folks are doing.”
“Just go for it,” Ramer said. “Reach out to people in your community. I reached out to the South Bend Development Center and got hooked up with a lady who was really helpful to get me on the right path to achieving my dream.”