Lynchburg, VA - From keepsake pens to a new contraption to your fridge, the creators of the most innovative new products and businesses could be right here in Central Virginia at the area's six colleges.
Region 2000 has already announced its new entrepreneurship initiative and that includes a competition between college students.
"My business is called Anders Ink," said Liberty University student Anders Bengston.
At Anders Ink, you get more than a fancy pen. Bengston's products are made from nostalgic materials, like a school's basketball court. Some take six hours to complete.
"I'm able to take memories and transform them into a tangible item that the customer can hold," said Bengston.
Sweet Briar student Barbara Regester has developed a refrigerator shelf liner. It prevents spills from going to lower shelves and makes for fast easy cleaning.
Then, there's a less concrete product: An investing idea from an LU team.
"We want to start an investment club we want to take a given amount of money and allow students to practically and tangibly invest in the markets," said LU student Tom Cirbus.
"So that they can become more competitive on the market when finding a job and leaving here," said LU student Tom Ciulla.
These students will have the summer to fine tune their plans. Come this fall, they'll start pitching their concept to a panel of judges.
"They are going to have to convince people to believe in them, believe in their abilities and believe in their business idea," said Region 2000 Executive Director Bryan David.
David says the goal is to start the competition at each college and pick an overall winner by next spring.
"If we can help create the atmosphere where that's done year in and year out, I think that only means great things for this region's economy."
Our area's economy would be the real winner if these young entrepreneurs decide to stay put, pursue their dreams and create jobs.
The Region 2000 Higher Education Entrepreneurship Initiative is the first time that six colleges have collaborated this way.