News about the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs

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 Notebooks.com, 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.

Affiliate’s Crowd-sourcing Taps Student Talent

As the first Bluffton University student affiliate of the BCE, Remark Engineering, LLC has stepped off the well-beaten marketing path to offer clients an effective new approach.

Remark provides small businesses with affordable services using “crowd-sourcing” to tap the skills of talented graphic design and marketing students. Remark solicits vector logo designs from students in the Ohio and Indiana region, offering the reward of an academic scholarship to the designer of the logo that is chosen by the Remark client. One of their current projects is to provide a logo for BCE affiliate J. Bankert Bookkeeping.

BIG Idea Contest to Reward Bluffton Student Entrepreneurs

Got an idea that could be really BIG business? The Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs (BCE) wants to help Bluffton University students take a big step toward launching new businesses. The BCE is conducting the 2011 BIG Idea contest to reward student entrepreneurs. The grand prize is an Apple iPad. All awards will include free assistance developing a business plan.

Judges from the BCE will assess entries for originality and uniqueness, potential for actual commercialization, and likely long term viability in the marketplace. The entry deadline is April 15, 2011. The entry fee is $25.00. Winners wil be announced April 22, 2011.

Oct. 23rd Art Auction to benefit Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs


The second annual art auction and dinner to benefit the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs (BCE) will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2010 at the Centre at Bluffton, 601 N. Main. Proceeds support the BCE mission of annually creating and retaining 30 local jobs. This is a major fundraiser for the BCE and raised $7000 in 2009. 

The event will begin with an art preview and cash bar at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner served at 6:15. The art auction begins at 7:00 and will conclude by 9:00. Brendon Matthews is master of ceremonies and the night’s auctioneers are Holly Spann and Greg Denecker. Docents are Gregg Luginbuhl and Tamara Rooney.

Bluffton University and Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs form strategic partnership

The Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs (BCE) has formed a strategic partnership with Bluffton University’s Division of Business Studies. The announcement was made at the center’s third annual meeting, September 16 at the Bluffton Town Hall. BCE board president Brendon Matthews introduced the plan to reduce the organization’s operating costs and connect its clients with university faculty and students. 

"Rent An Expert" Helps Business Owners

The Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs (BCE) is offering assistance to business owners through the "Rent an Expert" program, with the goal of retaining and creating jobs in Northwest Ohio. Business owners can “Rent An Expert” for a fee of $25 per hour, for up to eight hours, to help solve problems or develop new ideas. The experts are members of the BCE Board of Directors and have advanced skills in sales, marketing, advertising, finance, banking, real estate, administration, accounting, taxes, retail, education, architecture, construction, communications, law, logistics and manufacturing. The program will run through August 2010.

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