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Fancy Rhino Receives Prize at First Seed Project Pitch Event

Christian college student business plan competition

On Wednesday, April 20, 2011, Covenant College hosted the first Seed Project Pitch Event. Finalists Ben Baldwin '12, owner of Covenant Connection, and Isaiah Smallman '11 and Drew Belz '10, owners of Fancy Rhino, presented their respective business proposals to the panel of experienced entrepreneurs. After the presentations, questions and a period of deliberation, the panel awarded the $10,000 in seed money to Fancy Rhino.


Drew Belz, co-owner of Fancy Rhino, a video production company, is grateful for this opportunity to step into a larger community of passionate and active entrepreneurs. "We've been heads down, just doing the work lately, and this has allowed us to be heads up, to see a little bit further, and realize what the potential is for business in Chattanooga."


Likewise, finalist Ben Baldwin values the process, and the connections made to mentors and potential partners. "In many ways, this has been like my own personalized version of business 101. It really has been a process of learning that fit for me, and I'm really grateful." Ben's company, Covenant Connection, is an online service proposing to connect the needs of local residents to students seeking work.


Managed by the Center for Calling & Career, the Seed Project is an annual event, encouraging students to develop ideas amongst their peers and with the guidance and mentorship of professors, church members and people of business.


"I think the Seed Project is a way of giving witness to something we believe very strongly," says College President Niel Nielson, "that God has created his world with enormous potential for human beings to take what he has put in our hands and create things that weren't there before. This sort of shaping of the aspects and components of God's creation into something new is one of the ways we image our creator."


Regarding next year's Seed Project, Ben advises students with a business idea to "get a business partner. Don't try to do it alone."


"Spend the summer dreaming about it," says Drew. "Think about how it could actually happen. And have a friend or five friends who care about the same thing, because that's where the power comes in."


Click here to see more photos from the event.