Winners of the idea challenges surrounding Global Entrepreneurship Week at McPherson College were announced at a program Nov. 18.

Winners of the idea challenges surrounding Global Entrepreneurship Week at McPherson College were announced at a program Nov. 18.
Among those who took home the gold was team “Esperanza: Cultivating with Compassion,” the Global Enterprise Challenge winners, who won an all-expenses-paid trip to Panama to make their proposal a reality and a $1,000 scholarship.
Teams who entered in the Global Enterprise Challenge, the centerpiece for the week, had three days to develop and present an idea for a self-sustaining venture to help Panama. Six teams participated and were judged by a panel of individuals from the college and community.
Team Esperanza proposed the establishment of a grade school in Panama with a circular model. Native people from the area would sponsor promising students to receive higher education. In return, those students commit to returning to the community as a teacher to educate the next generation. The plan would also help skilled community members develop selling opportunities abroad.
Those on team Esperanza are sophomore Jacob Patrick, junior Emily James, senior Tabitha McCullough, freshman Lara Neher, senior Sarah Neher and mentor Jonathan Frye.
“I'm most excited about being able to make connections with other people and other groups,” McCullough said. “Even if we can't start our venture, being able to connect with another group to begin our process.”
Patrick has only been out of the country once before.
“For me it’s just the international experience,” he said. “I really just love to give back to people, so I’m really excited.”
Aside from this team, a number of other individuals received awards and recognition for their entrepreneurial ideas as well. Three students received prizes in coins for the Jump in for Change competition. One received a free iPad for a promising app. One group received resources to benefit its club.
A final winner also was drawn at random to receive a free skydiving adventure, tying in with the college’s mission, “Freedom to Jump.”
All of these activities are made possible by a $1.2-million anonymous gift given to the college last spring to support entrepreneurship.
President Michael Schneider presented the awards.
“One of the best parts about my job is your ideas, and the idea that you’re doing things to seize opportunities,” he said, noting the importance of continuing on ideas to implementation.
“It’s not really about whether you win this or not, it’s about what you do. It’s not about what happens tonight, it’s about tomorrow.”
He directed the evening’s events to apply to all students.
“This is an effort that is across the curriculum, not just isolated to one particular department,” he said. “You all have the capacity to have the entrepreneurial mindset, you’re all capable of doing this.”
Prior to the awards, world-renowned innovation and creativity speaker Jeffrey Stamp gave the students advice on being a successful entrepreneur.
He spoke about his many innovative ideas and what to do once a good one is born.
“I challenge you, don’t let that idea sit,” he said. “Keep pushing it and taking it places, because the adventure can go somewhere.
“Ideas can't change anything, because all an idea can do is change the current conversation we’re having. The decisions we make from those ideas are what change lives. It’s not just coming up with ideas, it's the unique life they have and where they go and what they do.”
Stamp also noted the opportunities the university experiences provides students to experiment with ideas and develop solutions to obstacles.
“Don't look at a box that's hard to open as a problem,” he said. “Look at it as a challenge that meets an opportunity. Turn every problem in an opportunity.”
And when ideas are deemed impossible to attain, Stamp said that should not hinder them.
“Impossible is not a destination, it’s a dare.”