College celebrates 25th annual Entrepreneurial Showcase

May 24, 2011 

Luther College's 2011 Erdman Prize for Entrepreneurship was awarded to Jamey Meyer, Melissa Larson and Kiflu Tesfaye at the 25th annual Entrepreneurial Showcase April 6. Each student received a $2,500 prize. Larson, this year's Grand Prize winner, received an additional $2,500.

Students, their families, area business people, friends of the college and faculty and staff gather at the Entrepreneurial Showcase each year to celebrate the achievements of students majoring in economics and business. Several business and economics awards and scholarships are presented at the event.

The Daryl ('61) and Audrey Erdman Prize for Entrepreneurship honors Luther students who create, develop and manage a successful entrepreneurial enterprise while attending Luther. The competitive application process is open to all full-time Luther students regardless of major.

Larson is a double major in business management and management information systems. She is the daughter of Tim and Mary Larson of Eagan, Minn. and a 2007 graduate of Burnsville High School.

Larson is the founder of Birdcage Bridal, a wedding resale website where users can buy and sell new and gently used wedding items. The business was started to find a more environmentally-friendly alternative to the wedding planning process. The entrepreneurial venture gained national attention since its release in October 2010, having been featured in the Wall Street Journal's "Smart Money," MSN Money and the San Francisco Examiner.

Meyer is a double major in environmental studies and management. He is the son of Kerry and Dawn Meyer of Stockton, Iowa, and a 2007 graduate of Durant High School.

Meyer's entrepreneurial career began with Meyer Farms, a sustainable poultry business that provides an alternative to mass-produced chicken found in many grocery stores. Meyer Farms specializes in free-range chickens that are raised in outdoor movable pens and receive ample amounts of green grass, fresh air and sunlight. The chickens are all natural, receiving no growth hormones or antibiotics.

The Accenture Scholarship, which recognizes a Luther student who has demonstrated academic excellence and leadership while majoring in computer science, management information systems, management, economics, or mathematics, was presented to Daniel Flucke.

Flucke is a double major in computer science and religion with a minor in music. He is the son of Mark and Sheila Flucke of Fond du Lac, Wis. and a 2008 graduate of Fond du Lac High School. Flucke will take on a summer internship at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Appleton, Wis.

The Accenture Scholarship is an award made possible through contributions of alumni who are employees of Accenture. Alumni gifts are matched with gifts from the Accenture Foundation.

For the second consecutive year, the Luther College E-Club awarded the E-Club Entrepreneurial Leadership Prize, which includes a monetary prize of $400 or more, funded by an anonymous donor and former E-Club members. The 2011 award was given to Rachel Jungwirth.

Jungwirth is a double major in communication studies and management. She is the daughter of Larry and Barbara Jungwirth of Winona, Minn., and a 2009 graduate of Winona Cotter High School.

Jungwirth joined the E-Club in 2010 and has been an active member on the group's executive board. She was part of a select group of E-Club members who traveled to Chicago for the National Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization conference.

The E-Club Entrepreneurial Leadership Prize is given to a current E-Club member in recognition of their 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. 

Since the initial program in 1986, the goal of the Entrepreneurial Showcase has been to serve as an annual forum for alumni and friends of Luther who are entrepreneurs to meet with students and faculty. 

Through the interaction with experienced entrepreneurs, students and faculty have learned about the challenges and opportunities associated with creating, growing and managing a successful entrepreneurial venture.

The Entrepreneurial Showcase Dinner Program and keynote presentation are funded by the Ted and Dolly Rugland Family Fund and the Malcom and Maybelle Estrem Endowment for Entrepreneurial Studies.