Campus Program Hopes to Ignite Ideas into Business Plans


The Muskingum University entrepreneurship Ignition Program aims to bring student teams of all majors together. The goal is to take ideas and grow them into full-fledged businesses.

The program’s first meeting is scheduled to take place on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Roberta A. Smith Library, Room 138.  They invite students with various interests and backgrounds to attend if interested in the program.

Muskingum University faculty members from several areas are involved in bringing this program to life.

Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Jay Shaffstall, Associate Professor of Digital Media Design, Tom German, Associate Professor of Business, Gary Golden, and Professor of Psychology Larry Normansell, joined together to use their various specialties to get their program off the ground.

The idea behind the project sparked from two different directions. Shaffstall reached out to German and Golden to assess their attraction to the project.

“I see a lot of potential in our students, but getting the right people together and motivated has always been a problem,” said Shaffstall.

As it happened, Golden’s brain was already on the same track. His plan though, involved the Muskingum County Business Incubator (MCBI), who currently partners with Muskingum for summer student fellowship opportunities. 

“I have been working for about a year on an idea to open up here on campus a satellite incubator for MCBI that would be interdisciplinary and student run,” said Golden. “The incubator or idea center here would primarily serve students who have ideas but need help.”

From that point on, Golden got Larry Triplett involved. Triplett is the Interim Executive Director of  the Muskingum County Business Incubator.

The MCBI program has worked with universities to create a partnership before. Recently, his collaboration with the Zane State College IDEA lab and the Ohio University Innovation Center was included with a $2 million dollar grant.

Outside-the-box thinking and group work will be vital elements once these project teams get off of the ground.

“Many of our students have talents that they’re aware of and talents they may not yet have realized,” said German, “If you’re willing to participate on a team to bring an innovative idea to life, you’ve got what we’re looking for.”

The initial meeting will be focused on exchanging ideas and getting to know everyone that is interested. They will be doing a “speed dating” activity to see which needs go together and which ideas go hand in hand. By the end of that, groups should be created and the researching and developing can begin.

A work space for this program is Cambridge Hall Room 127. This room is home to newly added Collaboration Stations.

As of right now, the end goal is for teams to be prepared to present their work to a panel of judges in early December.

During the process students will not be out on their own and can receive help from all the faculty members that brought this initiative together.

“Throughout the experience, we intend to provide mentorship,” said German. “During the process, faculty advisors will be able to provide their expertise or help connect the teams to people who can provide sound advice.”

Muskies with questions can reach out to Golden through his Muskingum University email address at