WINONA LAKE – Grace College awarded $14,000 – an all-time high – to four Grace College students at the ninth annual Grace College Business Plan Competition on April 21.
Mitchell Bowen took first place and received $7,000 for his plan, Recollection Project. In second place, Mackenzie DeLong received $5,000 for her business plan for A Rae of Beauty. Kiersten Martin and Melissa Mucci both took home $1,000 for their respective businesses, Minds in Motion and Methods by Melrose.
“I am thoroughly impressed at the hard work these students put in behind the scenes to get to the final competition,” said Dr. Alan Grossnickle, associate professor of business and director of the William P. Gordon Institute for Enterprise Development at Grace College. “All four of the businesses are absolutely viable which made it tough for the judges to determine the final ranking,” he said.
Bowen’s business, Recollection Project, was inspired by his long-time appreciation for travel posters. After he designed a set of Winona Lake posters for a class assignment this year, he saw an opportunity to start a business where he would travel from town to town and create posters to be sold at local gift shops.
“I can’t even express how beneficial this competition was,” said Bowen. “Having the opportunity to meet with business advisers gave me a firm foundation to build my business very purposely and intentionally. It forced me to look beyond college and determine whether or not my business will work in today’s society. I still cannot believe I won!” he said.
Bowen plans to use the money to upgrade certain technology that will help him produce higher quality products, create and produce new poster sets and even develop new products such as T-shirts and stickers. He intends to launch his business this summer.
DeLong’s business, A Rae of Beauty, started as a quarantine startup idea and quickly became a feasible business venture. A Rae of Beauty offers three different services: a beauty salon, thrift boutique and game face service which provides braids for female athletes.
The $5,000 reward from the competition will be used to purchase a van or trailer to enable DeLong to store her products and hold pop-up events. According to DeLong, it is her mission that A Rae of Beauty brings women together and fosters wonderful memories and experiences.
“If you have a great idea that is going to bless someone else, I encourage you to participate in the competition. This experience has been an overwhelming, life-changing blessing. The Business Plan Competition at Grace is an experience that you will never forget!” said DeLong.
For more information about the School of Business, please visit www.grace.edu/academics/undergraduate/academic-schools-departments/school-of-business/.