Four pupil enterprise homeowners to look at in Northeast Indiana

The strongest communities not only support the long-standing companies that are loyal to their customers, but also the emerging innovators who want to make a difference.

From the campus of Grace College Four aspiring student entrepreneurs have already started their businesses in Winona Lake. They started as classroom ideas, but through student engagement and guidance from professors they have grown into functioning, competitive companies that are already expanding and strategizing for the future.

Whether you find one of these companies online or in northeast Indiana, you will find that their owners aren’t just dreaming. These young entrepreneurs worked hard and put their hearts into their startups.

In fact, they are all winners of Grace College’s ninth annual business plan competition and make money to get their projects started.

Here are four student entrepreneurs to watch in northeast Indiana.

1. Mitchell Bowen

Focus: visual communication design
Graduation year: 2021
From Golden, Colorado
Business: memorial project

Mitchell Bowen, center, founder of the Recollection Project.

Originally “Travel Posters by Bowen”, these detailed art posters and postcards have already enchanted several communities in the United States

Mitchell Bowen begins by visiting a city, snapping photos of its most prized areas and turning them into art that travelers and locals alike can enjoy.

Bowen got the idea when he was visiting Pagosa Springs, CO with his family and couldn’t find a suitable postcard for his own collection. He thought about traveling to different cities, getting to know the area and making personalized postcards for local businesses. After starting his idea in an art class at Grace College, he started the Recollection Project as a company and it quickly became a success. Sale of postcards and posters at retailers.

“The arts make communities so proud,” says Bowen. “They remind people of their roots and help to remember memories from certain areas.”

Mitchell Bowen has designed a number of postcards and posters that sell out on Winona Lake.

This summer, Bowen plans to expand his business and travel to new cities to launch new collections of posters and postcards. Learn more about his work on the Remembrance project website.

2. Mackenzie Rae DeLong

Focus: Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing
Graduation year: 2023
From Vasser, Michigan
Shop: A Rae of Beauty and Rae Thrift Boutique

Mackenzie Rae DeLong, center, founder of A Rae of Beauty and Rae Thrift Boutique.

“This business can do so much, it’s a whole lot of beauty,” says Mackenzie Rae DeLong.

What started as a full service salon in her dorm room has grown into a salon and boutique that DeLong plans to run after graduation from Grace. But she couldn’t wait to leave school. She runs both the salon and the boutique from the campus.

“My hope is to bring women together on Grace campus,” says DeLong. “Different dorms can join and try on clothes together, and offering affordable haircuts is blessing for people. In the future, I hope to make it a one stop shop. Come in; get your hair done; Then, while your color is being processed, choose an outfit. I hope the women want to come in and have a good time. “

DeLong has references behind their dreams. She got her cosmetics license in high school and is doing her double degree and Master in Business Administration from Grace in just four years. This education and training, in addition to first-hand experience, prepared her to win Grace’s business plan competition.

“I’m happy to have a fingerprint on someone’s life,” says DeLong. “So often you see an object, but you don’t see the deeper purpose behind it. Clothes are more than just clothes. This coat will keep you warm all winter and these suit pants will help you get the interview. It’s so much more than just clothes and hair. There are memories and life-changing things that can happen through them. “

To find out more about DeLong’s business, visit her Instagram page: @a_rae_of_beauty.

3. Melissa Mucci

Focus: Entrepreneurial Management
Graduation year: 2022
From Chicago, Illinois
Business: Melrose Methods

Melissa Mucci, middle, founder of Methods by Melrose.

Melissa Mucci’s business has its roots in her childhood.

“Growing up, I always loved helping my friends organize their rooms and staying up late to rearrange the furniture when I stayed overnight,” she says. “As I got older and started looking for career opportunities, I knew I didn’t want to work from nine to five and ended up with professional organizing. This enabled me to combine my passion for organizing with serving others. There is a need for people with organizational problems and busy schedules, so one of my main goals is to be able to help them. “

This summer, Mucci plans to build its customer base for its organizational services and to develop a brand for its company. Her vision is to help people develop solutions for their cluttered homes and businesses so that they can become more successful and efficient. Her apprenticeship at Grace created a strong foundation for her business.

“When I took a business plan course at Grace, they took me step-by-step through each part of my business plan and provided me with mentors to solidify my plans,” says Mucci. “The competition was an opportunity that I would never have thought possible.”

4. Kiersten Martin

Focus: primary school education
Graduation year: 2023
From Plainfield, Indiana
Business: heads on the move

Kiersten Martin, middle, founder of Minds in Motion.

As a primary school teacher at Grace, Kiersten Martin has a passion for developing the minds of young students.

“My business is the Minds in Motion Summer Camp,” says Martin. “This is a camp that helps strengthen a student’s vestibular system, which enables them to better process information while studying. At some point I would like to open my own school with Minds in Motion as part of it. “

Martin hopes to help students learn more efficiently in school and give them better chances of success.

“I’m excited to see how the Minds in Motion Summer Camp can help students reach their full potential in the future. I’ve seen Minds in Motion change the lives of several students before, so I know it’s effective. “

Learn more

Further information on the business plan competition can be found at Read about it on the Grace College website.

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