Sohr Grant Description
Jim and Leah Sohr Grant Program
Jim and Leah Sohr contributed funds to the Owen School in 2011 to support budding young entrepreneurs who have good ideas for starting a business. Each recipient receives up to $25,000 to start their company; the money is a grant, so the student gives up no equity when they receive the grant.
Process for Applying for a Grant
Each fall and spring the Owen Entrepreneurship Center sponsors a competition in which students submit their ideas for possible funding. The students present their ideas to a group of seasoned entrepreneurs who vote on who will receive the awards. The grant program provides funding for a maximum of five students each year, and the funds are paid in three blocks depending on the performance of the student in developing their company.
If you would like to present your idea, please see Germain Boer for information on when the next session will happen.
How to Get Ready to Present Your Idea
To prepare for your presentation to the Sohr Judges, be sure to do at least one FireStarter session to help find the holes in your idea. The entrepreneurs who attend the FireStarter sessions are experienced, and they can offer great advice on how to make your idea better. They also know people who can help you move your idea forward.
Review the steps in the link below to make sure you have covered all the pieces of your business concept. Some parts of the material in this link may not apply to your idea, but consider each part before rejecting it for your company.
Web page with suggestions on how to present your business idea to investors:
Knowledge of your market and your customers adds a lot to your chances of getting a grant. So talk to experts in the field in which you are working, customers who say they want to buy your product or service, and people who might be your competitors.
Finally, be able to tell a high level story on what you will do if you get the $25,000. One team said they were going to spend it on gettinga patent for their idea; another, described the marketing program that would use the money, and another presented a relatively detailed budget of how the money would be used.
Successful Companies Started with Sohr Grants
Georgie Beauty--founded by Meagan (Allen) Manner (Owen 2012), a company that sells false eyelashes
Huma Gel--Ian Mccollum (Owen 2013) started Huma Gel, a company that sells an all natural energy gel for serious athletes made from the chia bean
Baxter Webb (Owen 2016)--Medarchon, a company that provides efficient communication between doctors and nurses using smart phones
CellSpring --Kramer Schmidt founded a company with a high school friend that builds three dimensional clusters of cells that drug companies can use to screen compounds in drug development
Boomalang--Chris Gerding (Owen 2015) created Boomalang to enable individuals to learn a language by having conversations with native speakers using smart phones. Their system matches indivuals with similar interests who speak different languages and guides them through conversations that alternate between the two languages.
Muultriply - Multriply was founded by Trishia Fridrich (Owen 2016), and it will provide a turnkey, cloud-based ticketing solution designed for tours and activities with more than $1 million annual revenue.
Portmanteau--Blaque Riley (Owen 2016) created this company to design, produce and market jewelry that is sophisticated with an edge.
Newscart--James Murray (Owen 2017) created NewsCart to provide companies with daily updates of relevant news for their companies. His system, using Artificial Intelligence, scans relevant publications, identifies what you want, and then presents you with a concise summary of that information.