Written By Celeste Bauer
Next Lives Here (NLH) was different than I expected. I attended the 1:15 time slot where entrepreneurs shared their ideas with a community of faculty, students, business associates, and well qualified judges who were all interested and engaged in supporting their ideas. Knowing this, I was expecting students or recently graduated students to come up with products, or engineering advances, or something tangible. Instead, the first entrepreneur, Jody Miniard, shared her idea of Priority Spine. This was more of a process adjustment to the current health care failure of addressing spinal pain. The second entrepreneurs’ brainchild was Learning Paradigm, a school type program to help mentally disabled children gain real world skills. Although both candidates were ladies and recently graduated, they did not fit the predisposition I had about NLH. It expanded my idea of what entrepreneurship truly is and what it means to have great ideas. Their ideas were so simple that anyone of us could’ve had them if we have back pain or a mentally disabled family member. However, the fact that they took these ideas and ran with them and developed a plan to address them is what separates them from me. I see a problem and create something entirely new to solve said problem. Jody saw a problem and used what is already known, in place, and staffed (current neurology practices) to solve the problem. Although she didn’t have to invent a machine or make a scientific discovery to come to her solution, her solution to help address back pain is probably the most feasible. NLH gave me a new perspective of the word ‘entrepreneur.’ Sure there were people there who made scientific discoveries and designed machines to address problems, but this seemed so typical science fair to me. I have a new and greater appreciation for those who are able to address just as significant problems with just as substantial ideas that don’t involve another new creation.