KOKOMO, Ind. – Want to plant a garden?
Some Indiana University Kokomo students have an app for that.
Green Solutions was the top team of five in an entrepreneurship class, taught by Yusuf Nur, associate professor of international business, that participated in a Shark Tank-style contest hoping to gain investors.
“The whole idea was for them to take it seriously, and generate a business idea that could be commercialized,” said Nur. “Even if they don’t, they’ve gone through the exercise of coming up with an idea, describing it, coming up with the data, planning for marketing, and developing a business plan to implement, all skills they could use in the future.”
The winning team of Kelsey Kohlmorgen, Adam Mitchell, Alex Michael, and Levi Grandstaff pitched an app to help people plan a garden. Called Green Solutions, it would allow potential gardeners to input how much space they have, drag and click plants into the plot, and create a shopping list for seeds and soil.
They brainstormed the idea, then worked together to present a detailed plan, including potential corporate partners, marketing ideas, how much money it would take, and when they would start turning a profit.
“The financials were the hardest part for me,” said Grandstaff. “It’s an educated guess, but you really don’t know if you’re going to make it or not. It was interesting to learn what goes into a business plan, and how much work it takes.”
He would rather sell the idea to someone else to implement, rather than start it.
Kohlmorgen said their plan is ready, and if they had the money invested, they could move forward. If they don’t, now they know how to develop their next idea.
“It’s not that hard,” she said. “This is something people can do, to come up with an idea and then create a business plan. We can use these same steps if we have another idea.”
The judges’ panel included Alan Krabbenhoft, dean of the School of Business, and, representing the Hoosier Heartland Indiana Small Business Development Center, Monty Henderson, regional director; and Lita Rouser, business advisor.
It also put them in touch with Henderson and Rouser, who can help them get started if they want to go to market with their idea.
Henderson, who assists entrepreneurs as they develop their ideas into businesses, said there were high-quality ideas presented. In addition to the garden there were also plans for partnering with college campuses to reserve parking spaces, an app for personal trainers to use to grow their clientele, a recycling nonprofit, and a drive up for alcohol.
“A lot of them have potential,” he said. “They could all, in some variation, make a real business out of them.”
Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.