Truett McConnell University hosts successful second annual Idea Labs contest


CLEVELAND, Ga. — Truett McConnell University’s Hans Hut School of Business hosted its second annual Idea Labs contest in early February. Open to all Truett McConnell University students, the contest serves as a platform for budding entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas in pursuit of scholarships and startup capital.

After an evaluation of the initial entries, five finalists were selected to present their groundbreaking products and comprehensive business plans to a distinguished panel of judges. The esteemed panel included Matt Rial and Shelbi Davidson, from Novel Ventures, alongside Charles Daugherty from Red Fern Dynamics, and Craig Chapin from Chapin Limited, Co., LLC. Each finalist was allotted 10 minutes to present their business plans, followed by a Q&A session with the discerning judges. Following the presentations, the judges ranked the entries, leading to the announcement of the winners.

The grand prize was awarded to Jeremiah Meder from Martinez, Georgia, for his visionary venture, Dorm Delights. Meder’s innovative concept centers around Dorm Delights, a fully customizable care package company designed for college students. These personalized packages include a wide variety of snacks, drinks, and goodies, accompanied by heartfelt notes from loved ones, aiming to provide encouragement and support during challenging times. Meder received a $1,500 scholarship and a $10,000 prize for startup capital to further develop his business.

The remaining finalists showcased remarkable ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. Caleb Chambers secured second place with XTreme Mud. Daniel Latini took third place with Cross Cuts Barber Shop on Wheels. Kaylee Wimpey’s Kaylees Kreations earned her fourth place, while Reinaldo Withers impressed with Smart Leaf, securing fifth place with his forward-thinking concept. Each of these finalists was honored with an academic scholarship, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the contest.

Reflecting on his inspiration, Meder shared, “I conceived the idea during a late-night study session in December. Feeling drained and in need of a pick-me-up during finals, I envisioned the concept of Dorm Delights—a source of comfort and motivation for students facing similar challenges.”

With his winnings, Meder intends to utilize the startup capital to prepare for the official launch of Dorm Delights in August, marking the beginning of an exciting entrepreneurial journey. “I am deeply thankful to TMU and all involved in Idea Labs. This experience has been invaluable in shaping my entrepreneurial aspirations.”

Dr. Kimberly Maiocco, dean of the College of Professional Studies and chair for the School of Business, expressed, “Entrepreneurship is the engine of innovation and economic growth. Through events like our TMU Idea Labs, we seek to empower students to unleash their creativity, take risks, and turn their ideas into reality. Entrepreneurship education is not just about starting businesses; it’s about fostering a mindset of resilience, problem-solving, and collaboration that prepares students for success in an ever-evolving world.”

TMU would like to thank Novel Ventures for their generous support in providing the grand-prize start-up capital and scholarship funds for first- through third-place winners and Red Fern Dynamics for their contribution toward the scholarships awarded to fourth- and fifth-place finalists.

“We are immensely grateful to Novel Ventures and Red Fern Dynamics for their invaluable support in empowering our students to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams,” added Maiocco.

“Their contributions have made a significant impact in nurturing innovation and fostering academic excellence at Truett McConnell University.”