Day: February 27, 2014

SBE Senior Opens Own Business

Scott Ramage has just a few months left until he graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Operations and Systems Management from the School of Business and Economics, but that didn’t stop him from celebrating the opening of his new business on February 5.  This unique venture is called 906 Vapor, and is an electronic cigarette lounge and vapor bar.

What is an electronic cigarette?  Often referred to as an e-cigarette, this personal vaporizer often looks much like an “old-fashioned” cigarette with an LED light on the end.  Using one of these satisfies nicotine cravings without most of the chemicals and carcinogens known to typical tobacco products.

Where did Scott find the inspiration to become an entrepreneur before even graduating?  He says that he owes some of his success to his dedicated personality, persistence, and of course, the classes he’s taken as part of his undergraduate career at Michigan Tech!  The idea for 906 Vapor originally began as a homework assignment for Scott’s Management of Technology and Innovation (MGT 4600) course.  His professor, Andre Laplume, encouraged him to keep thinking about ways to make the business into a reality.  Scott also drew inspiration from Michele Loughead’s business courses, as well as BUS 2300: Quantitative Problem Solving, taught by Roger Woods.

After graduation, Scott plans to continue his success with 906 Vapor while furthering his education.  Perhaps he may even be interested in pursuing his MBA through the School of Business and Economics!

For all of SBE’s young entrepreneurs, Scott offers some advice: “If you have an idea and you believe it will work, take the chance and give it all you have.  Even if you fail, keep trying.  The experience and knowledge gained can never be taken away from you.  It can only benefit you in your future endeavors.”

Do you have an idea for a new business venture?  Or have you recently started your own business?  Tell us all about it in the comments!


MTU Team Makes Final Cut of MCIP

The Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize is a six month program that enables teams to go from an idea to venture launch.

A new statewide entrepreneurial contest aims to arm students with the resources and skills necessary to launch a successful tech start-up in the state of Michigan. In addition to more than $100,000 in award money, the Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize (MCIP) offered participants intensive start-up training based on the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program.

Michigan Tech fielded a team out of a project for the Business Development Experience course — one of four required for the Entrepreneurship Concentration.

"Our low cost ventilator which encompasses a robust and simple design, is used to provide life saving care for infants suffering from respiratory ailments in developing countries," said Smith.

The Michigan Tech students who participated were:

  • Cole SmithManagement major
  • Brock TreanklerManagement major
  • Colin PuttersMarketing major
  • Carolynn MagnusonMarketing major
  • Derek MazurBiomedical Engineering major

The challenge kicked off in late October with a two-day workshop and culminated in February with a final showcase and awards ceremony. During the intervening four months, participants attended biweekly online progress meetings and received pitch training, mentorship and up to $2,000 in prototype funding. Teams were encouraged to brainstorm and innovate on their business model and position in the market.

90 teams participated in the first round and 29 made it on to the finals. Applicants were evaluated based on:

  • The viability and impact of their technology
  • How their business differentiates itself in the marketplace
  • The skill and experience level of the team members.

The Michigan Tech Team mentored by Professor Entrepreneurship and Innovation Dr. Saurav Pathak, Instructor Jonathan Leinonen, and Senior Lecturer in Accounting Anne Warrington was one of the teams selected to advance to the finals. Their project was to develop a low cost ventilator for infants in Ghana. This is an International Business Venture project out of the Enterprise program. The Michigan Tech team went on to win a $2,000 grant to further develop their product.

Event coordinators say the statewide venture challenge will help both the state and its students by keeping Michigan relevant in the knowledge economy and creating different career paths for college graduates.