Challenge chooses six finalists

Container_01_KMJBy James Walls

The Entrepreneur Challenge, hosted by the Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology (MARET) Center at Crowder College and the Neosho Chamber of Commerce, chose six finalists that will move on in the attempt to bring their business ideas to fruition. Having been narrowed down from 21 ideas submitted by the public, these six finalists are comprised of members from Crowder, Drury University, Missouri Southern State University and the community.

Choosing the finalists

According to Russ Hopper, executive director of the MARET Center, in order to narrow down the business ideas, all submissions were checked to see if they were scientifically viable and could be manufactured in the area, as well as being energy-based and high-tech. Those that passed that step were then considered by business experts at the Neosho Chamber of Commerce to see what the market might be for the product and then narrowed down that way.

“We weren’t evaluating necessarily the ability of an individual to pull it off, cause we didn’t really meet the individuals; everything was submitted via email for the most part,” said Hopper. “The main thing was whether it was a good technical idea and was it a good business idea.”

Final concepts in running

With the six finalists chosen, some of the business ideas include shipping container homes, self-contained power systems and even a wellness kiosk. However, details concerning these concepts are unavailable to the public at this time.

“… What we were targeting were things that, not from a market perspective but from a technical perspective, things we could manufacture here,” said Hopper.

Still left to come

Later this year, the finalists will give a presentation to a group of angel investors, where the winners will then be chosen shortly thereafter. The winners will then receive $2,500 to help bring their business to fruition. No date has yet to be finalized for the presentation, though Hopper states that it will likely be scheduled for June.

According to Hopper, there is consideration of making the Entrepreneur Challenge an annual event. However, there is still no guarantee of that at this time.

For more information about the Entrepreneur Challenge, visit