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Cornerstone Students Find Success at MWest Challenge Championship

News May 15, 2020

On April 17, five Cornerstone University business students competed in the MWest Challenge, a competition designed to cultivate entrepreneurship and collaboration among West Michigan colleges.

Cornerstone student Owen Woltjer (B.S. ’21) was in the team that came in first place with uRiff, a concept for a device that musicians can use to record song ideas on the go. Woltjer collaborated with a team of designers and engineers from Kendall College of Art and Design. The idea itself was pitched to the team by KCAD student Parker Wonser.

“I know that the inspiration came from the frustrations of being unable to express and record musical ideas quickly,” Woltjer said. “Like many musicians, he often would have a great idea for a tune or melody but would be unable to record it in a quick and easy way. He wanted to create something to solve this.”

Their pitch placed first in the competition, and they received a $4,000 prize. Woltjer reflects on the competition as being an incredible learning experience.

“It was very interesting to see how business, design and engineering thought processes could come together to create a great product,” Woltjer said. “Each person on the team thought differently and brought a new aspect to the table.”

A team of Cornerstone students took second place with their product called InVenue. These students were Kelli Dornan (B.S. ’20), Ashlee Tolsma (B.S. ’20) and Noah Oeverman (B.S. ’20). Cornerstone student Salvation Nkiko (B.S. ’20) placed third with a group of Calvin University students for their product Piggy Bank.

“Our students powerfully experienced entrepreneurship this semester,” said Chris Kellner, assistant professor of finance. “Developing that grit and ingenuity will serve them well going forward. Cornerstone was represented in the team that won the grand prize, a collaboration with multiple schools, and altogether secured $6,000 for their teams. That’s nearly 43% of the total $14,000 distributed. More importantly, they learned a lot. I am proud of what they accomplished.”

For more information on the MWest Challenge, visit their website.

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