News about the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurship

Photography Letter Art Joins BCE

The BCE's newest client is Tracy Branan of Photography Letter Art. Branan creates one-of-a-kind photographic montages that feature "found" letters combined into a word or phrase. Her customized products have unique qualities, making them fun, sentimental, and

Photography Letter Art allows Branan to connect with customers personally. She travels extensively to take photographs in urban, rural, and natural settings, so that she can provide a wide range of image choices. Customers can also provide letter photos of their own.

Houshower Elected to Board

Hans Houshower, vice president for advancement at Bluffton University, has been elected to serve on the BCE board of directors. Brendon Matthews, the BCE board president, welcomes Houshower as "a strong complement to the board with his experience in development, strategic planning and organizational development, as well as being an entrepreneur himself. We are very excited to add his expertise to the board."

Art Auction Application/Prospectus

On November 12, 2011, the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs (BCE) is hosting a fine art auction benefiting the regional business incubator. A panel of jurors will select 20-30 items for the auction, which will be attended by up to 275 guests.

Written submissions of original works in all media are currently being accepted; jurors will make selections in mid-October. The application (pdf) is shown at the end of this page.

Red Tornado Draws Artists to Bluffton

The upcoming 3rd annual BCE Art Auction will owe it's success to supporters like Tamera Rooney, who serves as a juror and an important link to the Findlay art community. Here Tamera explains how she became the "Red Tornado" and a promoter of local fine arts.

Q. Tell us something about your background:
I had a studio for 9 years in the Jones Building [and] I have sold many pieces over the years. I enjoy watercolor with my subject matter being animals and plants. I also enjoy painting portraits of my daughter. I started showing other artists in my studio and felt that the next step was to own a gallery.

BCE Annual Meeting to be held Sept. 23

On Friday, September 23, 2011, the BCE executive board will conduct a public annual meeting at 7:30 a.m. on the third floor of the Bluffton Town Hall. Preceeded by a catered breakfast, the meeting's agenda will include a summary of 2010 including a financial report and client summary. The board will also elect new officers for board.

New Mentor Brings Industry and Teaching Expertise

Join us in welcoming Denise Durenberger as Executive Director for the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs (BCE). Denise is an assistant professor of business at Bluffton University and resides in Arlington.

While her teaching responsibilities started with the fall semester, Denise graciously agreed to begin her mentoring relationships at the BCE this past June.

Bluffton University Students Win BIG Idea Prize

Four new Bluffton University graduates—three of them from Berne, Ind.—created an entrepreneurial venture that recently won the BIG Idea contest sponsored by the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs (BCE).

Remark Engineering, a design and marketing venture, was launched by Carter Sprunger, Bracton Eicher and Gregg Beitler, all from Berne, and Kenneth Miller, from Millersburg, Ohio. Sprunger, Remark’s chief operating officer, said he, Eicher and Miller were inspired by entrepreneurial stories they heard at last November’s Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Social Media 102 after Bluffton Chamber Breakfast

On May 13, 2011, the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs will co-host a free social media seminar immediately following the Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast. The event is a followup to February's Social Media 101 presentation by Ryan Lowry. The May 13 seminar is Social Media 102.

Three presenters will each give 20-minute presentations, followed by question and answer periods. Two speakers are confirmed: Matt Brown, president of the Ada Chamber of Commerce, will speak on “The Social Way.” Josh Smith of Bluffton, editor at, is the second presenter.

Art Auction Organizers Issue Call to Artists

Call to artists: The Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs is seeking entries for its third annual art auction. The juried event, to be held November 12, 2011, is a fundraiser for the business incubator and an opportunity for artists to increase their visibility among local buyers. A 25% commission is returned to participating artists.

The BCE mission is to contribute to the health of the local job market and business environment, including local artists. The 2010 BCE Art Auction featured 20 works, with the top price of $400 going the multi-media work “Spring Seasons” by Anita Lehman and Nancy Mistovich.

Drive Time Upsizing

Doug and Sara Kisseberth have put the pedal to the metal as new business owners. The couple started Drive Time Driving Instruction in early 2010 to provide classes for new drivers. In one short year, they have enrolled students from 13 different school districts and are moving into a larger classroom at the BCE.

Drive Time currently offers classroom instruction in both Bluffton and Findlay, and the owners anticipate broadening services to the south.


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