BGSU Schmidthorst College of Business Celebrates Successful Entrepreneurship Week!

The Schmidthorst College of Business celebrated another successful Entrepreneurship Week in April. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni attended a packed schedule of lunch and learns, panel discussions, presentations, The Hatch and the Sebo Series in Entrepreneurship.

The Hatch

The Hatch – BGSU’s version of Shark Tank – was again a roaring success. Alumni investors pitched in real money to fund five BGSU students’ business ideas. Meet this year's Hatchlings and see which projects were selected.

Jade Rush, from Mentor, Ohio, is a third-year Schmidthorst College student majoring in marketing with minors in entrepreneurship and environmental science. Rush was mentored by Bob Venzel '76, co-owner of Venzel Communications, Inc. Rush pitched 100 percent recyclable and sustainably produced children’s books. She asked for $6,000 for incubation and ended up hatching a deal with three investors all-in!

Suzi Saunders-O’Herron, from Bowling Green, Ohio, is a doctoral student in the leadership studies program. Saunders-O’Herron was mentored by Ed Leedom '89, an investment consultant with LPL Financial. She pitched the "Everlasting Story," a digital living history memorial curated by individuals for their loved ones. She asked for $6,000 at six percent equity and hatched an incubation deal with one investor all-in!

Madison Smith, from Bowling Green, Ohio, is a first-year Schmidthorst College student majoring in accounting. Smith was mentored by Bruce Fisher '68, current principal of Walker Lake Holdings, L.L.C. Smith pitched the "ToastySleeve,” a reusable drink sleeve that can maintain the temperature of warm beverages. She asked for $6,000 at six percent equity and hatched a deal with three investors all-in! Madison was also the recipient of the Eggy Award, voted by the audience as their favorite pitch of the night.

Nina Tylutki, from Flat Rock, Michigan, is a second-year student studying aviation with a specialization in flight training and operations. Tylutki was mentored by Paul Hooker '75, former CEO of SFERRA, and founder of RallyCap Sports. Tylutki pitched the "Travel Safe Anywhere," a portable device used to detect bedbugs, hidden cameras and germs while traveling. She asked for $6,000 incubation with an equity stake and hatched a deal with four investors all-in!

Erin Thomas, from St. Paris, Ohio, is a graduate student studying technical writing. Thomas was mentored by Eric Nowlin '82, former president of Grainger Canada. Thomas pitched a curated gift package company that contains products available at local businesses. She asked for $6,000 incubation with an equity stake and hatched a deal with two investors all-in!

Cori Byrgefrom Cincinnati, Ohio, is a second-year master’s student studying biology and product design in collaboration with the BGSU Center for Photochemical Sciences. Byrge was mentored by Richard Myers '71, former principle at Myers Crop Center, Inc. and Liberty Software Systems, Inc. Byrge pitched the "AG Garden," a sustainable agricultural technology system that recirculates nutrient-rich water to crops. She asked for $40,000 at eight percent equity. Although she was unable to hatch a deal, the investors saw value in her idea and advised her to continue to develop and refine the product.

Well done to all Hatchlings!

Sebo Series

The Sebo Series in Entrepreneurship, presented by the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, is the culmination of E-Week. The theme for E-Week 2022 was Turning Lemons into Lemonade, inspired by the book "Plato's Lemonade Stand: Stirring Change into Something Great," by this year's keynote speaker, Tom Morris.

At the series, business leaders and BGSU alumni David Hainline, Julie Brandle, and Gordan Hamm each presented about how they “Turned Lemons into Lemonade” during the COVID-19 shutdown.

David Hainline is the CEO of CSI DMC, an award-winning destination and event management company founded in 1987. CSI DMC is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has grown significantly under Hainline’s leadership. He graduated from BGSU in 1983 with his bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film. Hainline was a recipient of the 2006 Accomplished Graduate Award for the College of Arts Sciences, has served on the BGSU Alumni Board, and was inducted into the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame in 2019.

Julie Brandle is a 1993 BGSU graduate where she earned a double major in interpersonal and public communication and Soviet studies, as well as a travel grant scholarship to study in Kiev, Ukraine. Brandle is the co-founder and president of Metis Construction Services, a female-owned commercial general contractor based in Kent, Ohio. She oversees sales, marketing, and public relations in addition to managing Metis Construction Services' overall business strategy. Brandle was inducted into the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame this year.

Gordan Hamm graduated from BGSU in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Hamm is the CEO of Garage Management Corporation in New York City. Garage Management Corporation is a company that provides parking garage and car storage services. Gordan was inducted into the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in 2012.

Keynote speaker Tom Morris finished off the day with a stirring and energetic presentation about turning obstacles into assets.

Tom Morris spoke how life is constant change can be difficult but those same callenges are preparing us for our next adventure. “Uncertainty is a gift,” said Morris, “But it is an open field of possibilities to look forward to.” We can all learn from his wisdom and learn to embrace challenges as they will lead to something great.

Morris is a native of Durham, North Carolina, and a distinguished alumnus of Durham Academy. He graduated as a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, which has honored him as the recipient of their “Distinguished Young Alumnus Award.” Morris holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in both philosophy and religious studies from Yale University. Morris served as a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame where he became one of their most popular teachers. He is now the chairman of the Morris Institute for Human Values.

Women in Entrepreneurship Panel

The Women in Entrepreneurship Panel was moderated by April Baratian, director of development for Northeast Ohio at BGSU. The panelists included Charmaine Brown, ’96 graduate of Michigan State University and president and founder of Connexions Consulting Inc.; Sara Yarger ’18, founder of Magna Halter; and Julie Brandle, co-founder and president of Metis Construction Services.

Brown touched on how her company not only overcame COVID but actually tripled in size. Yarger started her business in the midst of COVID and spoke about the unique challenges she faced. Both panelists touched on the hard workrequired  throughout the pandemic, but also how they learned to take more time for themselves, too. Brandle discussed how her construction company managed to maintain operations during the pandemic.

Updated: 05/26/2022 02:59PM