A team of aspiring entrepreneurs from Grove City College will be competing for investment cash later this weekend in a national competition to find the next big idea.
More than $200,000 is up for grabs at e-Fest, an event hosted by the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, Minn., that seeks to encourage undergraduate entrepreneurs and support their ventures.
Junior Luke Gilligan of Fishers, Ind., and senior Mark Wilhelm of Lancaster, Pa., are hoping to win some of that money to continue working on Just Pause, a companion app for individuals living with bipolar disorder. Just Pause monitors individuals' spending and other signs of manic episodes. When it recognizes an episode, the app will text a designated “accountability partner” and freeze accounts for extra protection.
“I am incredibly pleased with the work that this team of students has done to build this business from scratch over the past semester,” said Logan Hammerschmitt ‘16, campus director for the Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation, who will accompany the team to Minnesota. “They are working hard to not only create a company that makes the world a better place for those living with bipolar disorder, but also to bring awareness to a mental health issue that plagues so many.”
They are among 25 national finalists for e-Fest, a competition in which student teams pitch their business idea to a panel of judges that includes Best Buy founder Richard M. “Dick” Schulze, for whom the school is named. The winning team will take home $50,000 to help get its venture up and running. Side competitions and special awards push the prize total for e-Fest to $215,000.
“Just Pause is a great example of the Grove City College entrepreneurial ecosystem in action. The students were able to take an idea that was developed in a class all the way to our Wolverine Venture Battle and a national competition. We’re excited to see how far this team can go in their pursuit to serve others,” said Yvonne J. English ‘97, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation.
Just Pause was developed through Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Kenneth E. Smith’s business planning course and fostered by Grove City College’s Entrepreneurship program, which includes The Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation and the academic department in the School of Business.
This is the fourth year in a row that a team from the College has made the e-Fest finals. In 2022, Gilligan was part of a team that won $10,000 in the competition. In addition to the pitch competition, the event provides students opportunities to gain experience, hone their entrepreneurial skills, and network with their peers, professionals, and investors.
For more, visit gccentrepreneurship.com .