A $10,000 prize to be put toward lease payments awaits an entrepreneur who plans to start a business in downtown Tiffin.
Heidelberg University, Tiffin Charitable Foundation, Tiffin Tomorrow and Tiffin University are sponsoring "The New Business Competition," and a release from TU states a $10,000 grant is to be awarded as the first year's lease payments for the entrepreneur.
"I love seeing the two (school) institutions work together. ... I hope we have a really good turnout," said Lillian Schumacher, dean of TU's business school.
Haseeb Ahmed, dean of Heidelberg's business school, said the project is divided into three phases.
"We are looking for a start-up," he said.
The first phase, which occurred in November and December, involved the universities working together to develop an application for the entrepreneurs.
Ahmed said the instrument is based on success factors, such as experience in the line of business, access to capital and networking, for an entrepreneur.
Tiffin Charitable Foundation distributed the application, and a launching ceremony for the project is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at The National Theatre at The Ritz Theatre. Ahmed said the free program is for interested entrepreneurs, members of the business community and anyone interested in the project.
Ahmed said a group of students will select 10 entrepreneurs from the applicant pool, and both schools will work with the 10 people in developing a business plan, which is part of the second phase of the project.
Heidelberg and TU each are offering a class in business and economic theory this semester.
Schumacher said Monday was the first class at TU, and it went well. She said she is having students read books to help them understand what it means to be an entrepreneur and build successful business plans, and they looked at parts of the project.
"We kind of divided the class into project teams," she said.
Schumacher said students responded well to the project Monday.
"They're very excited. ... I actually had to turn some students away because it was going to get too big," she said.
During the second phase of the project, each student is to work as a consultant with the selected entrepreneurs and are to offer workshops. Seminars could focus on the lender's perspective of a loan application, securing financial support, marketing, competition, branding, the possible legal structure of a business, tax advice, opportunities available through the government, human resources and hiring.
Officials want the entrepreneurs to succeed and sustain business in the long run, and at the end of April, they should have a well-prepared business plan, Ahmed said.
The participants are to present their business opportunity to a group of judges.
According to the release from TU, The White Fund of Tiffin Charitable Foundation will make a grant in the amount of the first year's lease payments, up to $10,000, if the panel feels one of the business plans is ready to launch.
Students are to assist with the start-up and growth phase.
Schumacher said the value of the project to students is huge, and she is a big advocate of linking theory to practice, which is what the project is doing.
Students have a great opportunity to learn from the wide variance of candidates the project is going to get, she said.
"They're going to be working under some pretty ... emerging ideas, themes, a little bit of ambiguity," she said.