TESA Program Recaps

GVSU 18 First Place

SmartView

The GVSU Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TESA) is a week-long summer program for high school students that focuses on cultivating interest in entrepreneurship and provides students with the knowledge and tools for starting their own businesses. TESA is an exceptional opportunity for high school students to interact and learn on a college campus. During the five day program, students work with college faculty and current GVSU students to solve a real-world problems through entrepreneurship. The program provides students with fundamental business concepts and essential entrepreneurship skills through hands-on, creative workshops. On the last day, the teams present a five-minute business idea pitch to a panel of judges from the local community for cash prizes.

TESA GRAND RAPIDS 2019

The 2019 TESA program saw 44 students from high schools across West Michigan. Sponsors included Amway, Start Garden, Little Space Studio, the Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation, the Seidman College of Business and the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. This year’s theme was poverty, and the students weren’t asked to “solve” poverty, but to examine a social service that exists but is not effective, and then provide a business solution to that problem. Right on day one, the teens went through a poverty simulation, put on by Access of West Michigan. During the simulation, teens participated in different roles and scenarios to understand the various factors as to why certain decisions can be made when facing poverty. Then, we went to the Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation, where the teens learned about how that organization supports entrepreneurship in a neighborhood that faces high rates of poverty. Later that week, the students visited Little Space Studio, an up and coming coworking space downtown that supports many types of entrepreneurship. They also visited Start Garden, where they heard from a panel of entrepreneurs, including Ravel Bowman, an alumnus of the TESA program. Then, they got a chance to get on the Start Garden stage and practice their pitches. All week, students learned from instructors Tim Syfert, Peg Denman and Kay Markovic. They worked in conference rooms and computer labs with their group to construct a team pitch for the showcase on Friday. 

Orange Team: Generation Connection

Orange Team: Generation Connection

On Friday afternoon, eight teams presented their ideas to a panel of judges: Tommy Allen, Publisher of Rapid Growth Media; Lynnette Collins, Director of Culture, Diversity & Inclusion and Talent Acquisition at Amway; Michael Kurley, Co-Founder and CEO of Soletics; Jamiel Robinson, Founder and CEO of Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses; Adnoris “Bo” Torres, Executive Director of the Hispanic Center of West Michigan; and Andrea “Dre” Wallace, Innovation Portfolio Manager at Business Lab. 

Winning first place this year was the Orange Team, made up of Ewean Bos, Northern Middle; Cat Vo, City Middle High School; Jacob Droski, West Catholic High School; Qays Almallah, Forest Hills Northern; Jalayah Wilborn, Grand River Prep; Kiara Peterman, Greenville High School. Their winning idea was Generation Connection, which tackled the issue of affordable housing and childcare by pairing a senior living facility with a daycare center. Their business model employs the senior residents as daycare attendants in exchange for living expenses. That team split their winning check of $2,500. 

Purple Team: Project Code

Purple Team: Project Code

Coming in second place and winning $1,500 was the Purple Team, made up of Jacob North, West Catholic High School; Kendal Young, West Michigan Christian; Sreevas Ramakrishnan, Forest Hills Eastern High School; Anthony J Diaz, GR University Prep Academy; Ejuan Merritt, Grand River Prep; Nicole Mattox, City High Middle School. This team focused on upward economic mobility for young people by designing a coding training and job placement program marketed to teens coming from poverty called Project Code. 

In third place and winning $1,000 was the Blue Team, made up of Anika Deshpande, Forest Hills Eastern High School; Koungo Diarrassouba, West Michigan Aviation Academy; Trinity Tubbs, East Kentwood High School; John Wright, Innovation Central High School; Vishnu Mano, Forest Hills Eastern; Brandon Tompkins, Rockford Freshman Center. This team created an online job placement platform - called Recharge - for newly impoverished and unemployed people to get matched with jobs matching their skill sets.

Blue Team: Recharge

Blue Team: Recharge

GVSU Sec Place

Smart Teen Bonding Center

East Meets West 2018

The 2018 TESA program saw 46 students from different high schools across the state of Michigan. Sponsors included Start Garden, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office, the Seidman College of Business, and the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Together they provided cash and prizes for the student entrepreneurs that totaled over $5,000. Each year, TESA features a theme for the students to focus their ideas toward. This year’s theme was smart cities. To assist students in understanding the challenges and opportunities associated with developing a smart city, we kicked off the week by having students listen to a dynamic panel of Grand Rapids area professionals as they discussed issues and opportunities surrounding the concept of forming Grand Rapids into a smart city.  We followed this panel with taking a field trip to Consumers Energy to learn about the energy-efficient technological advances happening around and near downtown Grand Rapids. During the middle of the week, the students took a trip Spectrum Health Innovations and then to Start Garden to present their group business ideas to a panel of local entrepreneurs. Later in the week, the students split off into their teams and explored downtown Grand Rapids to search for potential locations to establish their projects and gain more knowledge of the area.  Throughout the week, students were under the instruction of Dr. Tim Syfert, Matt Larson, and Jon Moroney. These instructors guided them through ideation, prototyping, planning and market research, and management and operations.

GVSU Third Place

The Smart Panels

At the end of the week, the student teams pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges made up of Matt Gira, Co-Founder at Fathom; Lori Henry, Project Manager at Spectrum Health Innovations; Attah Obande, Director of Dream Fulfillment at SpringGR; Tyler Petersen, Small Business Lender for Opportunity Resource Fund, and Rachel Scott, Director of Development Services at Rockford Construction.  McKinley Lowery III, Kiara Peterman, Davis Ross, Nanda Murali, and Zacchaeus Palmer-Richardson took home first prize and $2,500 for SmartView, an interactive, augmented reality phone application that would show the greater Grand Rapids area, in the past, present, and future.  Andre Davis Jr., Jada Pettis, Tanvi Ravi, Paul Gross, Shaunyla Hill, and Damon Arnold received second place and $1,500 for the Smart Teen Bonding Center, a smart technology center located downtown Grand Rapids to help connect teens through the implementation of technology.  Jorden Smiley, Stasha McDaniel, Catherine Lindgren, Aaron Ross, and Owen Atkins received third place and $1,000 for The Smart Panels – sound absorbing panels with LED displays on the outside used for billboards, signs, and logos, to help reduce sound pollution in the greater Grand Rapids area.

2018 Students' TESAmonials:

“I had a great time learning new things, meeting new people, and expanding my knowledge of entrepreneurship.”

“TESA is really overall a great experience and a really great opportunity to learn from your peers and all of the great speakers.  I really liked the activities we did and learned a numerous amount of new things.”

“The program was great.  It’s fun to be around creative, bright people.  Our ideas have the potential to change our world forever.”

“TESA is a fun place to share your ideas with others, and have some fun while doing it.  You meet some new friends and have lots of fun.”

“TESA is a very interesting and informative experience that I believe is good for teenagers that aspire to produce their own business as an entrepreneur.”

 


Winning Team 2

Commute Driving School

Grand Rapids TESA 2017 Recap

The GVSU Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TESA) is a week-long summer program for high school students that focuses on cultivating interest in entrepreneurship and provides students with the knowledge and tools for starting their own businesses. TESA is an exceptional opportunity for high school students to interact and learn on a college campus. During the five day program, students work with college faculty and current GVSU students to solve a real-world problems through entrepreneurship. The program provides students with fundamental business concepts and essential entrepreneurship skills through hands-on, creative workshops. On the last day, the teams present a five-minute business idea pitch to a panel of judges from the local community for cash prizes.

Winning Team 3

Grand Rapid Delivery

The 2017 TESA program saw 47 students from different high schools across the state of Michigan and Illinois. Sponsors included Amway, KENT ISD, KCI Printing, Spectrum Health Innovation, Start Garden, the Seidman College of Business, and the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Together they provided cash and prizes for the student entrepreneurs that totaled over $5,000. Each year, TESA features a theme for the students to focus their ideas toward. This year’s theme was Urban Development and Revitalization. To assist students in understanding the challenges and opportunities associated with urban development, we kicked off the week by having the students listen to a dynamic panel of Grand Rapids area urban development professionals as they discussed issues and opportunities surrounding the concept of Urban Development and Revitalization in Grand Rapids. We followed this panel with taking a field trip to Rockford Construction to learn about the urban development happening around and near downtown Grand Rapids. Later in the week, the students took a trip to the Geek Group in Grand Rapids to learn about the future of technology, and then to Spectrum Health Innovations to understand the concept of prototyping. Later in the week, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) introduced the students to the innovative artist exhibit of Rube Goldberg, and Start Garden introduced the students to what an entrepreneurial ecosystem looks like. Throughout the week, students were under the instruction of Peg Shoenborn and Dr. Tim Syfert. Peg Shoenborn and Dr. Syfert guided them through ideation, prototyping, planning and market research, and management and operations.

Winning Team 2017

Mobile Museum

At the end of the week, the student teams pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges made up of Linda Chamberlain, Frederik Meijer Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Jorge Gonzalez, director at Start Garden; Doyle Hayes, CEO of dhayes Group; Michelle Meulendyk, Charitable contribution specialist at Amway; and Don Paton, Partner at Datacomp. Aaron Ross, Paul Gross, Dat Ta, Alayna Vazquez, and Isabel Krupp took home first prize and $2,500 for Commute Driving School, a business that would utilize drivers education students to provide transportation to the elderly living in the Grand Rapids area, to and from their destinations. Advith Reddy, Claire Anderson, Lizzy Baran, Shaylee Smith, Jennifer Puente, and Joseph Huizing were awarded second place and $1,500 for Grand-Rapid Delivery, a service that utilized Grand Rapid’s Bus system The Rapid, to transport food from restaurants that don’t normally deliver to people who live near the bus line. Davis ross, Layth Almallah, Alec Isanhart, Alexandria Carroll, Samantha Todd, and Cameron Bruneau received third place and $1,000 for the Mobile Museum, an entertainment experience that takes unused exhibit items from museums and places them in temporary pop-up museums throughout the city for teens to interact with. Other Ideas included a mobile produce delivery service to impoverished neighborhoods, an urban herb garden that would employ the homeless, a skills training service ran by teens for the homeless, and a teen community center.

2017 Grand Rapids TESAmonials

“TESA has been a great experience. Not only did I gain knowledge into the entrepreneurial field, but also with teamwork skills. I would recommend this experience to family and friends, and I would come back next year.”

“My experience at TESA has been great. I learned that perspective you need in the business world, and the things you need to consider when becoming an entrepreneur. This experience will help you on your journey to success.”

“The entire experience was an overall life changing decision. The curriculum and work we received was extremely useful and vital to our final pitches. I like how the staff challenged us on several occasions to come together as a team to solve a problem. In the end, everyone walked out the doors with something valuable, whether it was money or a new outlook on life.”

“TESA was truly an enriching and educational experience! I was able to learn so much in the matter of a week! I learned the importance of identifying your target market as well as the unique proposition that sets you apart from your competition. TESA also taught me how critical teamwork is and what it means to be a successful leader.”


Detroit TESA 2017

Grand Rapids TESA 2017

Grand Rapids TESA 2016