The INKUBATOR has provided both Kevin Niemiller, left, and Branden Middendorf the resources and connections to launch their businesses and both have brought their ideas to life.
By Alyson Schoenung
NKU Marketing + Communications Intern
Big ideas are taking off in the Haile/U.S. Bank College of Business INKUBATOR program at Northern Kentucky University, where students are fostering their entrepreneurial spirits through new businesses and opportunities.
The INKUBATOR is a program for NKU students to bring their ideas and develop them into businesses with the help of NKU professors and professionals. The program is taking applications for the next INKUBATOR class through April 9, 2015.
Kevin Niemiller, a graduate student in the master of science in computer science program, brought his ideas to the INKUBATOR and his involvement with the program led to the development of his own business called coTrace.
What was Kevin’s big idea?
“Help business-to-business (B2B) service-based companies capture, organize, and share their success stories and testimonials,” he says.
The idea came as Kevin worked for a service provider and noticed how important customer testimonials are to their marketing efforts. His idea was transformed within INKUBATOR with essential tools to starting his own business and the networking he has needed along the way.
“The INKUBATOR introduced me to a lot of people who are entrepreneurs and could give a lot of great insight on next steps and ways to make the business profitable,” Kevin says.
Branden Middendorf, who graduated in 2014 with a degree in media informatics, traveled that same path to business ownership twice.
“I didn’t know anything about business, let alone think I would own my own business one day,” Branden says. “Even though I don’t have a business degree, I feel like I have a good sense of what needs to be done with my company.”
Branden’s first big ideas were Pet Monster and Gamemaster.me.
Pet Monster is an app to teach children the fundamentals of responsible pet ownership. In game form, this app helps to develop the child’s sense of accountability for his or her pet.
“I wanted to create an app that taught them, ‘Go walk Fido today,’” Branden says. “Why is it important to walk your dog? So it can build muscles in his leg and get stronger. This would have then been rewarded and the idea was the child could use the points at a local pet store to get the pet a new toy.”
Gamemaster.me is a web app for computer gamers that helps them organize their notes about a given game and the processes of the game in one place for easy access.
“Over time after you have been creating this new world of different lands and new characters, the papers start to build up,” Branden said.
Most recently, Branden and few other colleagues started Gear5 Media.
“We help out small business owners get a website up and running and make games,” Branden says. “The goal was to have a playable alpha for our game Purrpulsion for the Ohio Game Developers Expo last year. We met that goal, had a lot of people come by our booth to play the game and had a lot of great feedback.”
The INKUBATOR has provided both Branden and Kevin the resources and connections to launch their businesses and both have brought their ideas to life.
“The INKUBATOR really has changed my life,” Kevin says.
So what’s your big idea?
Find out more about the INKUBATOR and apply by April 9.