Kerri Klatt

Staff Writer

Entrepreneurs on campus will have the opportunity to share their business ideas in the upcoming NEO LaunchNet 2018 Idea Labs business competition on March 8.

  Regardless of your major, all LCCC students are encouraged to participate. “Students can participant individually or with a team of up to five,” said Janice Lapina, Program Manager at NEO LaunchNET.

  “The skills that our students learn, whether it is participating in the competitions, or coming into the lab to get mentored and coached,” said Lapina, “These are transferrable skills that the student can take into the real world and into their careers.”

The competition includes three cash prizes for first, second, and third place winners. The first-place cash prize is $1,000, second-place prize is $500, and the third-place prize is $250. “The money for these competitions and programs comes from the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (ECC), and are funded by our grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation,” said Lapina.  “We have judges that come in from the outside because we do not want to have any conflict of interest,” explains Lapina.

  The event will also be an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to network with local business leaders.

The first-place winner will win cash as well as the opportunity to compete at a regional level Idea Lab competition. This competition offers $5,000 in cash prizes, and is between ten colleges and universities. “We are the only community college that participates,” said Lapina, “The rest are four-year colleges and universities”.

Neo LaunchNET’s mission is to assist small business owners with achieving their dreams of business success. “We have seen over 2500 walk-ins that have walked in about business related inquiries,” said Lapina, “We have seen bakeries, tech with different applications, marketing, food, organics, and social entrepreneurial ideas.”

To participate or be involved with NEO LaunchNET, a student does not need to be a business major. “The good thing about our program is that we are co-curricular. It doesn’t matter what the student’s major is, their business, or business idea because it does not need to follow that,” said Lapina.

To participate in the Idea Lab business competition, you must have a business idea and register with the NEO LaunchNet office.

Students interested in competing need to contact the NEO LaunchNet office by 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 16 stating their interest.  Ideas are to be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 23, and students are to create and share power point slides by 5:00 p.m. on March 2.