posted November 6, 2008

Senior Adam Irrer Is Entrepreneurial Finalist

Senior Adam Irrer of Davison is one of 10 area college and university students named finalists in the second annual "The Lakeshore's Next Top Entrepreneur" competition, which will take place at Hope on Friday, Nov. 21.

The event is organized by Lakeshore Advantage in conjunction with worldwide Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is running Monday-Sunday, Nov. 17-23.  Presented in partnership with the college's Center for Faithful Leadership, the event is designed to inspire, educate and prepare regional college students to be among the Lakeshore's next great entrepreneurs and innovators.

"Young entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our future economy.  Our goal is to inspire young people to believe in their own entrepreneurial potential, said Amanda Chocko, marketing manager of Lakeshore Advantage.  "With my work at our business incubator, we see all kinds of exceptional entrepreneurs.   We feel this event will help us encourage even more innovation."

"Entrepreneurship is a form of leadership," said Dr. Steve VanderVeen, who is director of the Center for Faithful Leadership and a professor of management at Hope.  "Leadership and entrepreneurship are also forms of stewardship: finding more productive uses of resources to better meet the needs of society."

"The Center for Faithful Leadership's partnership with Lakeshore Advantage represents the beginning of Hope's exploration of entrepreneurship as a form of servant leadership," VanderVeen said.  "Seeing entrepreneurship as stewardship is another way of educating students for lives of leadership and service."

The competition on Friday, Nov. 21, will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.  The finalists have been selected based on project proposals that they have submitted, and will be competing through tasks judged by a panel of professionals using criteria such as originality, creativity and idea viability.

The grand prize will be a cash prize of $1,000 that includes a prize package to help the winner to further develop his or her idea.  Second- and third-place prizes will also be awarded.

Irrer is an economics major.  He is a 2005 graduate of Davison High School, and the son of Chris and Beverly Irrer of Davison.

In addition to Irrer, the finalists include one student from Davenport University and eight students from Grand Valley State University.

The first competition, held in the spring of 2007, was won by 2007 Hope graduate Andrew Popchock, whose business idea was a GPS chip for long-distance runners so that their progress could be tracked throughout a race.  The third-place winner in 2007 was 2007 graduate Leonardo Morales of Zeeland, for his plan to have airlines and airports work together in recycling to reduce waste.