April 24, 2012
The 26th annual Luther College Entrepreneurial Showcase was held Tuesday, April 10, in Hotel Winneshiek's Steyer Opera House located in Decorah, Iowa. Since the initial program in 1986, the goal of the Entrepreneurial Showcase has been to serve as an annual forum for students, faculty, alumni and friends of Luther who are interested in and support entrepreneurship.
This year, student entrepreneurs displayed their ventures before the program during the networking session, affording students an opportunity to interact with and receive feedback from fellow students, faculty, alumni and local community members.
Keynote speaker Mark Hanawalt, CEO and owner of United Equipment Accessories in Waverly, Iowa discussed the entrepreneurial spirit at his company and how UEA has grown into a major supplier to the wind industry and wind turbine manufacturers.
During the program, several awards and scholarships were announced including the Accenture Scholarship, the E-Club Leadership Prize and the Erdman Prize for Entrepreneurship.
The $2,000 Accenture Scholarship was awarded to Austen Smith, Luther senior. The award was presented by Luther alumnus Peter Newburg, class of 1997. The Accenture Scholarship recognizes a Luther student who has demonstrated academic excellence and leadership while majoring in computer science, management, economics or mathematics.
The Luther College Entrepreneurship Club Leadership Prize was awarded to Luther senior Cami Czech, current E-Club president. The award included a monetary prize of $400. The E-Club Entrepreneurial Leadership Prize is given to a current E-Club member in recognition of leadership contributions during their time at Luther and particularly the past year. Club members nominate and participate in the selection of the winner along with the E-Club faculty advisor.
The Daryl and Audrey Erdman Prizes for Entrepreneurship were awarded to Luther seniors Kelly Dotseth for ChangeJars.com and Scott Bisbey for Bisbey Computer Services, and Luther first-year Lindsey Bjorge for Lindsey Bjorge Photography.
Luther students who create, develop and manage a successful entrepreneurial enterprise during their years at Luther must apply and present their venture to a panel of judges. The judging panel is comprised of entrepreneurs in the Decorah community.
Kelly Dotseth started ChangeJars.com in November of 2011 with fellow Luther seniors Scott Bisbey and Tyler Zey. The website establishes relationships with non-profit organizations and online retailers. After selecting a non-profit organization to support, consumers click their favorite online shopping website and shop as usual. ChangeJars.com directs a portion of anything the customer buys online to benefit that cause.
Scott Bisbey has operated Bisbey Computer Services since 2008 and offers computer repair, website development, and Information Technology consultation for small businesses and home users. He maintains seven small business contracts and continues to build a strong client base in and around Decorah.
Bjorge runs a small photography business that specializes in event and portrait photography. She began in high school with a film camera and then used the money she earned from portrait sessions to buy a high-end digital camera. Bjorge works on campus as a Luther College Sports Information photographer.