Dordt College News

Dordt teams present business plans for venture competition

February 15, 2010

Business Team

In a time when the national unemployment rate is hovering around 10 percent, finding a job can be challenging, even for college graduates.

At Dordt College, a classroom exercise and a New Venture Business Plan Competition just might be an entrepreneurial option, offering students the business acuity, skill, and $5,000 in start-up funding for a business of their own.

The Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management course taught by Dr. Gary Vander Plaats requires students to develop a business plan for a new start-up company. Their homework involves documenting an executive summary, company description, products and services, a marketing plan, operational plan, financial plan, and management and organization. Successful entrepreneurs are also invited into the classroom to share some secrets for their success.

Two teams of students recently took their business plans a step beyond the classroom: they entered the 2010 Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition, with $5,000 offered to Iowa’s three best entrepreneurial business ideas.

Administered by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurship Centers, the New Venture Business Plan Competition is intended for Iowa college and university students with Business Team an interest in starting their own business. Team plans are judged based on content and business viability, with seed grants being awarded to the top three plans presented in the finals at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Iowa Conference on February 26.

The first round of regional judging took place February 1-5, with two Dordt teams being interviewed by judges at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City via video-conference.

The first team consisted of Mike Behnke (Redding, CA), Erica Huisman (Sioux Center), Daniel Poel (Orange City), and Mark Wescott (Mantua, NJ).

On the second team was Ben Slager (Quincy, WA), Jake Clark (Monument, CO), Todd Green (Edmond, OK), and Jaci Van Eps (East Grand Forks, MN).

Team members said judges offered positive comments regarding their business proposals, as well as asking thoughtful questions, and advising the budding entrepreneurs based on their own business experience.

Up to three top business plans from each of the five regional locations will be selected to proceed from regional to statewide competition, with judging taking place Feb. 26. For more information see