As a reward for his ability to successfully pitch his idea for a new business, Grove City College entrepreneurship student Stephen Weaver ’19 will be honing that winning business idea with Virginia-based Ignition Business Accelerator this summer.
Weaver, of Cedarburg, Wis., participated recently in the inaugural Virginia Shark Tank, where he and other ambitious young entrepreneurs presented their elevator pitches to a panel of judges and investors in front of a live audience – and a digital crowd watching live on the accelerator’s Facebook page.
PrintIt, Weaver’s idea, is a 3-D printing construction and housing company that was inspired by the cost of home construction.
“Quality shelter is a basic human need and it shouldn’t be so expensive and inefficient to provide,” Weaver says. “PrintIt is taking a different approach to home building, one that not only dramatically reduces the price but also reduces the build-time and increases the quality. 3D house printing is a much cheaper method of construction and it is completely revolutionizing the way houses are to be built. Instead of hiring expensive contractors to charge thousands of dollars for a basic home, PrintIt will provide a unique housing option for an affordable price.”
After pitching, Weaver headed to his booth at the Shark Tank expo, where audience members and judges could find out more about the concept. Weaver’s proposal drew the attention of event sponsor Ignition. As a result, Ignition’s program manager invited Weaver to spend the summer at Ignition’s innovative accelerator space to advance his plans for PrintIt. Ignition was founded by entrepreneurs with the mission of helping others create and build profitable and sustainable businesses. The accelerator will provide mentorship, investment connections, potential funding, and office space for PrintIt.
“I have been particularly impressed by Stephen’s work ethic and enthusiasm as he pursues his idea,” stated Yvonne English, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Grove City College. “I have literally seen him taking business calls in the hallway between classes. We are excited to continue to support Stephen as he takes his business to the next level.”
PrintIt is among 10 student-generated business ideas that earned a spot earlier this year in Grove City College’s innovative VentureLab program, which provides access to grant funding, coaching, mentorship and guidance to student entrepreneurs.