Entrepreneurship Opportunities

2018 Running Start Competition Finalists and Winners

In 2018 eight students and student groups were awarded between $500 and $2500 for their entrepreneurial projects. Read more about the winners, including the first ever People's Choice Award winner, here.

2017 Running Start Competition Finalists and Winners

Congratulations to Carson Greene, Lynnsey Lambrecht, Jordyn Davis, and the Círculo Trio (Lia Wang, Hayne Kim and Tanyawat Dilokkunanant) on their winning projects! Learn more about all the 2017 finalists in this article.

For more on Jordyn Davis' Composetheway project, check out her website and promotional video for her debut EP Connections.

Learn more about Lynnsey Lambrecht's Music Theory HELP! online tutoring center by visiting their website.

2016 Running Start Competition Finalists and Winners

2016 marked the first ever Running Start Competition Live Pitch event, a 90 minute presentation, Q&A, by the eight 2016 finalists. Thanks to the generosity of Cynthia Kay and Co., the MSUFCU Running Start Competition was expanded from one or two awards, to three cash prizes. Read about the finalists, and see the three winning pitches, in this article

2015 Running Start Competition Winners

For information on the 2015 winners and finalists, watch a video interview in this article.

Finalist Chelsea Koziatek was featured for her Consuming Arts project with the MICA Gallery of Lansing, in this news release

2014 Running Start Compettion Finalists and Winner

The winner of the 2014 Running Start Competition was highlighted in this article

Alex Smith, a percussion performance and musicology/ethnomusicology student, was selected for the 2014 grant based on his proposal for a new business that crafts affordable instruments through local resources and sustainable production practices. The Running Start grant will help Smith purchase tools and other equipment to help launch the project.

“We created Running Start as a way to get students thinking about big ideas for innovative projects that can impact their careers,” said Michael Callahan, assistant professor of music theory, who helped originate and coordinate the competition. “Alex's proposal demonstrated his commitment to his art as well as to the broader community through an ecologically minded business.”

2013 Running Start Competition Winners


Doctoral-level percussion performance majors Alina Waitrolik and Mark Grimm received a $2,500 grant from the MSU Federal Credit Union to further fund and implement the “Des Moines Percussion Project.” 

“What drew us to their proposal was their sincere commitment to making a difference in the lives of a large number of people in the community,” says Callahan of the project that involves music education and outreach to low-income families and children. “Their proposal realizes their passion to share music with people of all ages, including audiences who may not have access to classical percussion music.”

The first annual Running Start Competition inspired students to visualize life as a working musician by developing innovative projects and programs with positive impact on the community. More than a dozen music students explored ways to be heard beyond the practice rooms through the inaugural competition. Student entries ranged from creating concerts with audience participation to establishing small niche businesses.