KSU students compete for downtown rental space

Joe Zucker

Kent State students will get a chance to leave a lasting impression on downtown Kent.

The Phoenix Project is a multi-million dollar renovation of four buildings in downtown Kent with the goal of rejuvenating the area. The buildings will house both retail and non-retail businesses.

Competition finalists:

&bull Prestige: Stacey Thomas, Fashion Merchandising

&bull E’vero Natual: Jenette Raabe, Business Management

&bull Inkling: Christine Spangler, Entrepreneurship and Dan Dowd, Entrepreneurship

&bull Kent Bicycle Co-op: Kevin Carlin, Communications

&bull Digital Art Gallery: Austin Briggs, Business, and James Southerland, Business

&bull Peace of Imagination: Victoria Sullivan, Managerial Marketing and Entrepreneurship

&bull Fair Trade Store: Ryan Tipton, International Relations, and Christian Woltman, Visual Communication Design

Kent State purchased two spots that are part of the Project. While the university has filled one of the spaces, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation is holding a retail competition for the remaining space.

The competition was the first ever at Kent State and open for students of all majors to try and pitch their very own business.

“We want the students to create a business that will serve both Kent State and the Kent community as a whole,” Julie Messing, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, said. “Plenty of students came to me with their ideas, and they were very impressive.”

The winner of the competition will receive a recognition certificate and a $500 cash prize. Messing said the cash prize represented Kent State buying the student’s idea.

“It would be great if the student wanted to be a part of the launch, but that is as far as they can go,” she said.

“We saw some ideas that really can’t work with the Phoenix Project because of space constraints,” Messing said. “But we wanted to keep them anyway because they were so good that hopefully another opportunity comes open for them.”

The finalists will present their ideas on April 6, with the winner being determined afterward.

Contact College of Business reporter Joe Zucker at [email protected].