Impact Venture Challenge

IVC logo

Messiah University's Faith-informed venture challenge developing impactful, viable business models to the world's pressing social issues.

The annual Impact Venture Challenge encourages students to develop and launch a faith-informed business venture that addresses important societal needs.

IVC began in 2015 as a collaborative effort of students and Professor Brian Nejmeh in Nejmeh’s entrepreneurship class. The "Shark Tank"-style competition has provided an opportunity for student-led teams to compete for seed money to start and support their business ventures.

“We had a number of discussions around the topic of how could we motivate students to think more about launching businesses that both made a profit and made a difference in the world,” said Nejmeh. “Our sense was that some type of business plan competition might act as a catalyst for entrepreneurship among Messiah University students.”

Nine years later, The Impact Venture Challenge continues to thrive as a unique opportunity for student entrepreneurship on a college campus.

On April 23, 2024, at 7pm, five student-led teams will have the chance to win $5,000, $3,000 or $2,000 for their new ventures through Messiah University’s Impact Venture Challenge (IVC). The Impact Venture Challenge encourages students to develop and launch a business venture that addresses important societal needs.  Students work with faculty members, community mentors, nonprofit organizations, potential investors, and other business leaders who guide them along the way through workshops, presentations, mentoring sessions, among other learning experiences. The competition started with 17 teams, but only five made it all the way to the final presentation. These five teams advanced through the concept overview (round one) and business plan (round two) stages.  The five final teams will present their plans to a panel of three judges and a live audience. The judges’ scores and audience vote will combine to select a first, second and third prize winner of the competition.

A very special thank you to our 2024 Impact Venture Challenge sponsors:



Meet the 2024 Impact Venture Challenge Finalists! 

Better People - Team Members:  Wyatt Rumfelt and Austin Hedrick

Better People, born out of the shared ambition of two brothers to foster positive change, traces its roots to their podcast, "Humor and Hustle," where they explored various topics ranging from self-improvement to making a difference in society. Their journey began with a clothing drive for the homeless population, planting the seeds for what would become a brand focused on meaningful messages and quality apparel. Recognizing the negativity prevalent in the fashion industry, they embarked on a mission to counteract it by infusing their brand, Better People, with positivity and encouragement for personal growth.

Compass Care Financial Solutions - Team Members:  Sawyer Shank and Samuel Ramos
Compass Care Financial Solutions provides support to global non-profit organizations challenged by unstable economies and disparities in long-term employment benefits. We work with individuals who are dedicated to serving their own communities by helping them cultivate an equitable and sustainable financial future for themselves and their families.
Genesis - Team Members: Michaela Elliott, Tiffany Oponski, Faith Seaman and Tucker Williams 
Genesis is a business that seeks to help other businesses help people. As a marketing agency, our mission is to partner with businesses, startups, non-profits, and other organizations to revamp their online presence.  Genesis wants to clearly align a company’s mission with the media they present to increase brand awareness and reputation to maximize their impact and provide opportunities for growth and development through data-based media and marketing strategies. 
Meraki Tack Trunks - Team Member:  Rachel Hogan 
Meraki Tack Trunks offers custom, made-to-order, wooden tack trunks and equipment for equestrians of all levels, dreams, and disciplines. While our product is selling tack trunks and grooming boxes, the true heart of our business is in our hope to impact students and participants in therapeutic riding programs by giving away 10% of each sale we make. Through every interaction we have, we desire to share the love of Christ and help them see that the Lord delights in them because He made them in His image.

Wilkinson Wedding & Events - Team Member:  Aedan Wilkinson

Specializing in wedding rentals, focusing on arbors and essential wedding decor.  Services include niche custom0made decor and generic packaged options.  The mission is to craft authentic wedding aesthetics using repurposed wood sourced from farms, pallets, and recycling centers.  As a thoughtful touch, Wilkinson Wedding & Events provides a gift for the bride and groom: "The One Year Devotions for Couples," a book perfect for newlyweds and seasoned couples alike. 

The Impact Venture Challenge Finale will be on April 23rd at 7 PM in Parmer Hall.  Please join us at 6 PM for a special "meet the entrepreneurs" session in the Parmer lobby area.