Start Garden to give out $100K in 100 days, but how?

Start Garden announces #100Days100K initiative

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Organizers from Start Garden say it's the broadest reaching thing they've done yet, and it's something that will disrupt the entrepreneurial ecosystem in West Michigan in a good way.

What is it? Well, we don't know exactly. But we're finding out Thursday, Jan. 4.

Start Garden, the same organization that helps would-be entrepreneurs turn their ideas into dreams realized through 5x5 Pitch Nights, and other events, is planning to use $100,000 in the first 100 days of 2018. The announcement, happening at Start Garden's office on Pearl Street, will lay out what that money will go toward.

If you're not familiar with Start Garden's 5x5 events, here's how they work: selected applicants present their ideas to judges and community members with the hopes of receiving $5,000 that will move their ideas forward. They also get to meet people who can help them with their plans. Eventually, someone wins that $5,000 grant.

Start Garden director Paul Moore said many former 5x5 participants believe getting up on stage and sharing their ideas was the turning point where they finally got their ideas moving.

"It wasn’t that $5,000 shot them into the future," Moore said. "It was a psychological shift. I think that’s been one of the most inspiring things, and the thing we’re going to announce draws heavily on that learning."

Moore and fellow Start Garden director Darel Ross II say ideas don't have neighborhood boundaries, and this initiative helps people sculpt their visions.

"Enterepreneurs come from everywhere, and entrepreneurs and good businesses start with ideas," Ross said. 

"Start Garden wants to create a culture of entrepreneurship in neighborhoods where people can ideate and have resources around those ideas and really create the spirit of entrepreneurship."

"For people that don’t have bootstraps or don’t have friends and family that can help out, we are missing an enormous amount of innovation and ideas coming from communities that would love to be engaging in that kind of problem solving," Moore said.

"That's what we're really trying to do with this launch, is attack that problem."

The announcement will happen at 5:30 p.m. If you can't be there, Start Garden will live stream the event on their website.

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Matt Gard is the Senior Producer of the 13 Morning News. If you have a story idea, you can contact him on Twitter, @mgard_wzzm13 or by e-mail, MattGard@wzzm13.com.

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