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Monday, 27 August 2012 14:17

Start Garden provides additional funds to three ideas

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Start Garden provides additional funds to three ideas PHOTO: Bryan Frank
GRAND RAPIDS — Three entrepreneurial ideas split $60,000 in second-round funding from Start Garden at the organization’s second update night.

Start Garden, the $15 million pre-seed fund started by ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos, supports new business ventures in the Grand Rapids area through a tiered funding system. The first level of funding gives each idea $5,000 and charges each entrepreneur with the task of finding if their idea is viable, desirable and feasible as a business.

The update night is the opportunity for the public to learn more about the ideas and see how successful each one has been at discovering whether it had the ability to stand on its own. At the end of the update night, the Start Garden team informs the presenters whether they will continue to receive funding at the $20,000, $100,000 and $500,000 levels – or whether the team feels the idea has run its course.

Ideas at the second update night that received additional funding include:

Sing Song Yoga, a children’s yoga program created by Deb Weiss-Gelmi. The program teaches children yoga poses through song and has gained traction through online sales. Weiss-Gelmi used the initial investment to work on search engine optimization and improve her website, and is looking into pay-per-click advertisement placement.

Design a Dream, a custom wedding gown manufacturer created by Shannon Gales, owner of the Vue Design boutique in the MoDiv retail incubator in downtown Grand Rapids. The concept focuses on putting different parts of dresses together in order to make a custom gown. Gales’s goal is to make it possible for custom wedding gown manufacturers to operate without having to maintain a large inventory.

ReindeerCam, a live feed of reindeer created by Adam Loveless and Drew Wesley. Probably the oddest idea of the update night, the site, created 10 days before last Christmas, received 1.2 million hits. To monetize the site, Loveless and Wesley will create some merchandise to sell through the site, and are also exploring the possibility of creating an app to sell.

Of the four unfunded ideas, two – Regular Coffee and The Skool – received the “maybe later” response for additional funding. The remaining two ideas, Ntewani custom women’s clothing and vertical hydroponics farm GR Greens, did not receive funding.

The next update night will be on Sept. 27 in the new Start Garden “community center” space at 50 Louis St. NW in Grand Rapids.

Read 1190 times Last modified on Monday, 27 August 2012 14:20

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