STORY BY ALEXI DELATHOUDER
Last fall, my friend Brady and I were sitting next to each other waiting for class to start and she asked me, “Hey, do you want to start a business?”
As the do-anything-once type of gal, I agreed without getting any details.
Later, she explained to me that she saw a flyer around campus that was offering scholarships to a select few who pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges. It was called the Lorentzen Student Hatchery and was formed because John Lorentzen, a Drake alum, wanted more students to have funding and the chance to start businesses during or fresh out of school. We found out it was open to all students and our inexperience in the field was irrelevant. We decided to give it the good ol’ college try.
As Arts & Sciences students, the first time we explored the College of Business and Administration was the day we went to pitch our $10,000 idea. We had a rough sketch of what we wanted our business to look like. We skipped Thirsty Thursday that week and instead recruited friends to listen to us pitch and give us constructive criticism and encouragement (shout out to Elizabeth Johnson and Rachel Dupree). The next day, filled with nerves and excitement, we pitched our business.
It was quite the adrenaline rush. I remember leaving feeling pretty damn good. We didn’t expect to win. We were just proud of ourselves for competing.
A few weeks later we found out we did win along with four other businesses. In my three years at Drake, I had never felt so accomplished. Never in a million years did I see myself evolving from anything other than an Arts & Sciences student. I was becoming an entrepreneur.
We learned that the hatchery was equipped with mentors, regular meetings, and guidelines to keep all of the participants on track. The program officially started in May and became a routine throughout the summer. From May to now, we have watched each other’s businesses develop and mold into fascinating projects that will hopefully grow beyond our expectations.
We got to pitch our idea to a room full of strangers and were featured on Channel 13 news. We went to weekly meetings and set goals for ourselves that pushed us to be better businesspeople and entrepreneurs. Although we were all exposed to the same program and expectations, we all took something different with us from the experience.
Ethan Turner of “Glimpse: A New Perspective,” for example, says the hatchery and mentors taught him “to be a better CEO as well as a better man.” Brayton Deprey of “Settled In” called the hatchery a “great opportunity for non-business majors to get involved in the business school and the perfect way to develop a set of skills that will benefit (her) that (she) would not have acquired in her own majors.”
This experience taught me a plethora of things about the business world, but most importantly it taught me that I can do absolutely anything I set my mind to. It made me realize I will never be confined to one track in life and that my classes and education do not have to be limited to one school.
I am an LPS/IR double major with a concentration in Arabic and an entrepreneur. I will graduate in December as a well-rounded individual with options I could not ask anything more from Drake. I feel fortunate for the opportunity to expand my horizons and am lucky that Drake University and its alumni constantly offer such opportunities.
I want to stress that ANY student can apply for this scholarship. It is worth the time and effort. Teams or individuals may apply. To get a better idea of the businesses created through the hatchery, you can check us out at http://www.drake.edu/cbpa/centers/lorentzenhatchery/