NNU News

Senior business students see success in Seattle

May 3, 2017


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Throughout the course of the spring semester, each senior in the business department works in a team to create a business that qualifies as a social venture. This project involves writing an intensive business plan as if the social venture was actually being established, including everything from creating financial statements, making a marketing plan, discussing an operations plan that explains in detail how the business plan will be executed and much more.

At the end of March the teams then compete against each other at NNU, and the top two advance to a competition in Seattle, hosted by Seattle Pacific University. The group called Change Incorporated took first place at the 2017 NNU showcase and Bridge took second. Janessa Dyk (Portland, Ore.), Cali Carpenter (Nampa, Idaho), Bouna Ndiaye (Bergen, Hordaland, Norway), Jordan Hepton (Nampa, Idaho) and Mike Zucker (East Wenatchee, Wash.) travelled to Seattle and represented Change Incorporated and Erik Madrigal (Jerome, Idaho) and Emily O’Donnell (Meridian, Idaho) represented Bridge.

At SPU, there were 20+ teams of undergraduate and graduate students who competed in the competition. Change Incorporated walked away with Honorable Mention (3rd place) and a $2000 cash prize.

“It's really awesome to look back and see how the last four years of hard work have shaped and prepared us”
The idea behind Change is to offer a space where people can easily provide financial support to organizations of their choosing. People link their credit or debit cards to the Change app which then enables Change to round up purchases made to the nearest dollar. This extra amount would then be collected by Change and donated to the charity or organization of the donor's choosing. Change Incorporated is a modern way to connect donors with charities at the touch of a button and seeks to empower people to donate to causes they are passionate about.

When reflecting on this experience, Change members Janessa Dyk and Jordan Hepton had nothing but positive feedback.

“Learning how to work in a team dynamic and realizing that we can actually create a legitimate business,not just a class project, is incredible. We created a business plan from scratch and have successfully developed a viable business model. Not only did we win a cash prize but we were also approached by two potential investors who are interested in taking our idea even further,” said Janessa.

Jordan said, “It's really awesome to look back and see how the last four years of hard work have shaped and prepared us for this challenge. Working as a team it was really amazing to come together and play off each others strengths, and ultimately create a great business.”

Change Incorporated is currently in contact with the two potential investors to see if the team’s business plan could become a reality.

Photos thanks to SPU's Social Venture Plan Competition.