Student entrepreneurs clinch e-Fest prize

Contact: Molly Goaley

Tyler Skibicki

Noah Schultz

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University industrial and entrepreneurial engineering student Tyler Skibicki, of Lake Orion, and mechanical engineering student Noah Schultz, of Washington, Michigan, earned a $3,000 prize from the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge e-Fest competition in March. Their venture company, Ethereal Motion, LLC, was one of 25 finalists in the 2020 competition to receive an award. In addition, the Haworth College of Business received a $1,000 grant as part of the prize.

E-Fest is an annual three-day celebration of undergraduate student entrepreneurship that culminates in the final championship event, the Schulze Entrepreneurial Challenge, in Minneapolis. Although this year’s face-to-face competition was canceled due to the global COVID-19 outbreak, each of the top 25 finalists received an award from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation in honor of their venture. Judges pored over submissions from 65 colleges and universities across North America, with finalist teams receiving top scores for their video pitches

“This award is such an honor and perfectly timed with our operations,” says Skibicki, founder and CEO of the company. “We are currently working on getting our products manufactured locally, and this funding is making that happen. We would like to thank the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation for the generous funding awarded to our business and University. Lara Hobson, director of operations for WMU’s Starting Gate, helped us through every step of the application, and fellow student Nick Dimas did amazing work recording and editing our pitch video.”

Ethereal Motion, LLC, is a motorcycle technology-based company focused on creating innovative products to enhance the riding experience. The company is backed by a highly knowledgeable team that is constantly working to develop new technology for the motorcycle industry. As the business grows, the team intends to release new lines of products specializing in sportbikes and supersports. The products are designed to provide a more comfortable and superior riding experience.

Diligently working in Starting Gate, WMU's student business accelerator, Skibicki and Schultz, head of design and innovation for the company, have had access to an array of resources for student entrepreneurs throughout their venture.

ABOUT STARTING GATE 

This is the fourth year in a row a team from Starting Gate was selected to compete in the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Starting Gate is a student business accelerator that gives students resources to develop their startup companies. Located in the Park Trades Center Building in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo and operated by the Haworth College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in partnership with the WMU Office of Community Outreach, the accelerator is open to all WMU students through a competitive application process. Starting Gate provides a fast-track to business launch.

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