Young Entrepreneurs Prepare for Cross-College Challenge

      Lynchburg,VA - From keepsake pens to a new contraption to your fridge, the creators ofthe most innovative new products and businesses could be right here in CentralVirginia at the area's six colleges.

      Region 2000 has alreadyannounced its new entrepreneurship initiative and that includes a competitionbetween college students.

      "My business is calledAnders Ink," said Liberty University student Anders Bengston.

      At Anders Ink, you get morethan a fancy pen. Bengston's products are made from nostalgic materials,like a school's basketball court. Some take six hours to complete.

      "I'm able to take memoriesand transform them into a tangible item that the customer can hold," saidBengston.

      Sweet Briar student BarbaraRegester has developed a refrigerator shelf liner. It prevents spillsfrom going to lower shelves and makes for fast easy cleaning.

      Then, there's a less concreteproduct: An investing idea from an LU team.

      "We want to start aninvestment club we want to take a given amount of money and allow students topractically and tangibly invest in the markets," said LU student TomCirbus.

      "So that they can becomemore competitive on the market when finding a job and leaving here," said LUstudent Tom Ciulla.

      These students will have thesummer to fine tune their plans. Come this fall, they'll start pitchingtheir concept to a panel of judges.

      "They are going to have toconvince people to believe in them, believe in their abilities and believe intheir business idea," said Region 2000 Executive Director BryanDavid.

      David says the goal is to startthe competition at each college and pick an overall winner by next spring.

      "If we can help create theatmosphere where that's done year in and year out, I think that only meansgreat things for this region's economy."

      Our area's economy would be thereal winner if these young entrepreneurs decide to stay put, pursue theirdreams and create jobs.

      The Region 2000 Higher EducationEntrepreneurship Initiative is the first time that six colleges havecollaborated this way.