At a time when creating jobs is at the forefront of public discussion, it is encouraging to see that institutions of higher education are promoting the ideals of free enterprise and entrepreneurship. On April 20th, Northwest Florida State College
held its first Student Entrepreneur Fair at their Niceville campus.
Coming up with an idea and then creating a business plan to get it off the ground is a tough job for most, but the college had a number of students vying for the opportunity to share their business ideas — and compete for $500 in cash!
Bit-Wizards has been involved with the local economic development groups in the area for a number of years, so it was no surprise when Debbie Bodenstein asked Louis Erickson
, Bit-Wizards’ COO, to participate in judging the event. Along with Gene and Caralee Gibson from GSC Systems
and Brian Pennington from Tybrin, Louis helped judge a diverse group of business ideas and provide feedback from his experience as an entrepreneur and business owner.
Louis says he was "truly impressed with the energy and excitement the kids brought with their ideas and presentations. It was remarkable how well thought out most were. We could tell they really spent some time working out these ideas."
The winning business idea was a "Smart Watch" that would allow school-age children to wear a watch that could receive but not send messages. The watch would enable parents to send messages that would be queued until specified times that would not interfere with classes. The watch would also signal the parent and teacher if it is removed. In second place was "A Day Away" adult day care concept and in third was "The Perfect Gift", an online shopping website for hard-to-buy-for people.