Senior places second in regional business competition

Luke Richard, second place winner of the 2nd Annual Regional Business Competition, holds his check after the awards ceremony.

Andrew Mills

Luke Richard, second place winner of the 2nd Annual Regional Business Competition, holds his check after the awards ceremony.

Molly Waite

Grand Valley State University brought the winners of local collegiate business plan competitions to hold the second-annual Regional Business Plan Competition on Tuesday night. Students from Aquinas College, Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Davenport University, Hope College, Grand Rapids Community College and GVSU each had 10 minutes to pitch their innovative business venture to a panel of judges.

Representing GVSU, senior Luke Richard walked away with the $1,500 second-place prize money and big plans for his company, G.R. Greens, a business which will grow produce hydroponically in Cedar Springs, Mich.

“My idea or vision for G.R. Greens developed over a few years of reading and learning about issues facing the world today,” Richard said after taking first in the GVSU Business Plan Competition last month. “One of the major issues is food production, and that’s something I think we’re all passionate about. Hydroponic food production happens to be one of the most sustainable and clean options out there, so it seemed like something worth exploring, and before I knew it, I was designing the G.R. logo.”

Richard, who will graduate this may, was not disappointed to have placed second and extended his congratulations to the first-place winner, Kelly LeCoy of Calvin College.

“She definitely deserved to win,” Richard said. “I was very happy for her.”

Tom Olson and Chris Skurka took third place, receiving part of the total $5,500 in prize money that is intended to be used as seed capital, according to a press release from the GVSU Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

“The mission of this program is to encourage undergraduate entrepreneurs to develop and grow a start-up company,” the press release read. “Each school provides a unique forum where students learn the skills necessary to launch a profitable venture in today’s demanding environment.”

It was difficult to summarize what he had learned by competing in the Regional Business Plan Competition, but Richard said that the competition forces entrepreneurs to develop their ideas.

“You learn a lot,” Richard said. “But I would really encourage other students to participate in these competitions.”

After competing in both business plan competitions, Richard said that he believes this was a good way to end his time at GVSU.

“I was happy to win the Grand Valley’s competition and to place second in this competition,” Richard said. “I was really proud to represent Grand Valley.”

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