Ideas: everyone has them. You are in the midst of a home repair project or making a meal for your family and it hits you: “This would be so much easier if I had something that could…” The difference between you and an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur turns that idea into a business. So you don’t think that you can make the transition from ordinary citizen to entrepreneur. You don’t have an MBA. You don’t have the connections. You don’t even know where to start with transitioning your idea from ethers of the universe into something tangible. There is help out there for you.
Tyler Essenberg has been coming up with ideas for a long time now and he hasn’t even graduated from college yet. He along with his business partner, Calvin Beeke, are the owners of G-Raps, a Grand Rapids startup company that makes eyewear accessories. Essenberg and Beeke were selected for the $5,000 funding from Start Garden and were able to utilize Start Garden’s networking and advising to develop ways to package the product, and gave them tips to help their business grow.
G-Raps was able to make enough inroads with their initial $5,000 funding from Start Garden that they were selected for a second round of funding of $20,000 from Start Garden. G-Raps products are available on their website, soon to be found in the Davenport University Book Store and some local optometry shops. Essenberg and Beeke plan to expand the number of designs available too. All this is being done with the assistance of the Start Garden staff and a number of local advisers that work with Start Garden.
The one thing you do not hear in the G-Raps story is that Essenberg and Beeke were able to use their great business acumen or graduate level business education to get their startup rolling. You do hear them giving a lot of credit to the assistance from the Start Garden services. These were two young men that had an idea: a new way to express themselves. They were able to leverage West Michigan local resources to turn that idea into a business that is gaining traction.
You can do the same with your idea. Start Garden offers some great resources but there are a lot of other groups, services, businesses and incubators locally that can help you out too. What it really comes down to is you? If you really want to take your idea to market, you just have to make the decision to put in the effort and ask for help. Who knows, maybe one day you will be helping someone else in the future because you got the help you needed today.
Source: “How two young Grand Rapids entrepreneurs intend to change eyewear fashion” by Brian McVicar of MLive.com