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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Annamarie Parker
Annamarie Parker
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I am an English, Writing major with a double minor in German and journalism. I'm also pursuing my TESOL certificate while working for Housing and Residence Life. I love to travel and meet new people.

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Business competition in its fourth year

Northern Michigan University’s College of Business is holding its fourth annual New Business Venture Competition.

The New Business Venture Competition is open to all students and continues throughout the school year with activities that allow students to present their business plans.  A student or group of students who plan to participate must complete an “intent to compete” form and business proposal by Thursday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m.

“We are trying to help students from all majors and take their ideas from, ‘oh I have a good idea in my head,’ to actually developing a plan for a business that can function, work, be profitable, and create jobs,” said Ray Amtmann, a business professor and project director for the competition.

The biggest producers of jobs in the U.S. economy today are entrepreneurs, Amtmann said.

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“Ideally, we’re promoting the development of businesses in the Upper Peninsula,” Amtmann said.  “However, if they have an idea that would work outside the Upper Peninsula, that’s okay.  It’s not going to keep (a student from) being a finalist or a prize winner.”

The first prize winner receives a $4,000 cash prize. The second prize winner gets $2,500, and the third prize winner gets $1,500.  There is also an additional $500 prize for the best trade fair presentation, where students develop prototypes of their products, and if it’s a service, develop informational materials. The contest will also include a $500 prize for the best elevator pitch, where one member from each team or the individual contestant describes the proposed business persuasively to judges with the goal of winning financial backing.

“There are no strings attached to the prize money,” Amtmann said.  “(The winners) can use it to start up their business or they can use it to pay next semesters tuition,  however they want to use it.”

Winners in the past have taken the money and invested it into their business to help develop their business into the next level, Amtmann said. The competition is being partly founded by the NMU Marketing department and other outside donors.  One of the outside donors is Ervin Kranberg, owner and president of Professional Liability Brokers & Consultants (PLBC) and an NMU alumnus.

“I felt that Northern had given me some opportunities and basic skills that helped me in launching PLBC,” Kranberg said.  “I just felt it was important to try to give back and give some opportunities to students at Northern to have the abilities to maybe go into entrepreneurial type ventures.”

Kranberg said he sees this competition as a good way for students who have a desire to own their own business to think about a good business plan that can eventually become a reality.

Alysa Diebolt, a communications and marketing major at NMU, was a sophomore when she entered in the competition in 2008-09 year.

“My experience with the competition was absolutely amazing,” Diebolt said.  “It was really hard but it was really fun.  I would recommend it to a lot of people.”

Diebolt won the first place prize, best trade fair display presentation prize, and best elevator pitch prize.  She said the networking that has happened since the competition, the feedback she got, and getting to know her business front to back were the most rewarding parts of the competition.

“I would encourage (students) to ask for help and to not be afraid to ask a professor for help,” Diebolt said.  “I worked a lot with one of the entrepreneurship professors and there’s no way I would have done as good as I did without his help.”

Six finalists will be picked by Dec. 10.  The finalists then have to create a detailed business plan using the guidelines set out due by 5 p.m. on March 17, 2011.  On April 7, 2011 students will present their business plans through three activities: a trade fair, sixty second elevator pitch, and oral presentation of the business plan.

“Even if you’re not a business student, don’t not apply because you don’t know what you’re doing,” Diebolt said.  “It was a really great experience that you can’t get in the classroom.”

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