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Microgrants help BW students go from inspiration to innovation

Call it a side hustle, a part-time gig or give it a supercharged name like business venture launch. Whatever the term, the benefit of these entrepreneurial opportunities ranges from monetary to networking to gaining invaluable business chops.

photo of BW student Jessica JonczykThis spring, BW's LaunchNET introduced its first-ever Microgrant Program, offered through the generous support of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and Women for BW. The initiative enabled BW students to apply for grants they could use toward entrepreneurial endeavors.

This year's award recipients will be using funds ranging from $99-500 to create educational resources, consumer products and service offerings.

A Game-On Endeavor

As an aspiring music teacher, Jessica Jonczyk '22 can be considered a gamer of sorts in a wink and a nod kind of way. The cellist is creating a board game called "Chanscribe" that can assist educators and students.

"Last year, I proposed a research project to the Riemenschneider Bach Institute's Scholar Program where I would research 'Anne Young's Musical Games (1801),' a board game created in the 1800s to teach Scottish piano students music theory. I am creating my own board game based off of hers that would teach aural skills to a modern audience," explained Jonczyk.

"I plan to sell this game, as well as explore additional new educational board game concepts for development. I envision this business running alongside my teaching career," she said.

Creating a Space for Writers

photo of BW student Nick GalaidaNick Galaida has a vision for himself and other career professionals. The May 2021 graduate is getting ready to launch a website that can provide student sports writers and fans a space for publishing content.

The psychology and sociology major believes the pandemic made it difficult for students to break into the world of sports and journalism. One of the major barriers is having published work that can be shared with prospective employers. Galaida, along with a group of friends, is planning to launch Delphi Sports later this summer to create a platform for writers to publish content.

"The data, research and writing skills gained from my education at BW are present in nearly everything I do concerning Delphi," he noted. "The paperwork, financials and legal side of creating the website are all a challenge, but it is a fun process because we are learning a lot of new skills all the time!"

Cards are Stacked in Her Favor

photo of Nicole Babik"I have always made cards since I was a little girl," recalled Nicole Babik '22. "As I grew older and put more skill into my cards, people began to notice them and want some of their own. In 2019, I decided to officially market cards to family and friends. I felt at the time that greeting cards provided a creative market for me to turn my hobby into a money-making success."

Today, the middle childhood education major has introduced her business, Notably Yours Greeting Cards, to faculty and staff in the Center for Innovation & Growth and education, as well as classmates who have talent or interest in digital marketing, photography or stationary.

"Some of the biggest rewards of having my own business is certainly the control I have in meeting people's needs and helping to share goodness with the world," she remarked. "I like that, through my business, I am able to help someone by providing a physical product they can't get anywhere else."

Other spring 2021 microgrant recipients include:

Charlize Berhardt '24

Graphic design major
Venture idea: "Shrooman Says" - colorful books about mycology (the study of fungi) to get kids interested in nature and science.

Noel Contreras '23

Exercise science, biology and pre-physical therapy major
Venture idea: Morphoneogenesis - bilingual (Spanish and English) offerings for online fitness and personal training.

Anna Cvitkovich '22

Accounting major
Venture idea: Private Accounting Firm - tax and other financial services.

Jordan Gallagher '21

Arts management & entrepreneurship major
Venture idea: Gallagher's DJ Entertainment - professional event and wedding DJ.

Anthony LoParo '21

Management major
Venture idea: The Handy Italian - residential construction and renovation business.

Samantha Lucas '21

Music theatre major
Venture idea: Music video project for her original song "Life is a Ride."

Shahzeb Malik '23

Economics and political science major
Venture idea: The Nuanced Perspective - multi-platform media offering discussion of social issues, economics, pop culture and more.

Brendan Moir '21

Music composition major
Venture idea: Bemuse Art - recording and releasing an album of original music.

Ayinde Motirayo '22

Business administration major
Venture idea: DJ Terawatt! - professional DJ and party entertainment.

Andrew Oliver '21

Film studies major
Venture idea: Olive Branch Pictures - film production company for independent filmmakers.

Ken Smith '24

Public Relations major
Venture idea: Team Wav3y LLC - photography and fashion business.

Christine Smyth '21

Arts management & entrepreneurship major
Business Venture: The Smyth School of Irish Dance - school for teaching traditional Irish dance to all youth age groups. Read more about her success.

Natalie Sommer '22

Accounting major
Venture idea: SommerTime Designs - one-of-a-kind art and woodwork pieces.

Eric Thompson '24

Psychology major
Venture idea: Cincy Cutz - traveling barbershop business.

Kayla Webb '20

Early childhood education major
Venture idea: Donate copies of her children's book "The Show and Tell That Changed the World" to libraries and community places. Read more about her success.

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