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New event offering $5,000 a month to put good ideas to work


Entrepreneurs will get a unique opportunity to get their business idea off the ground in Grand Rapids. During “5x5” 5 people will have 5 minutes to present their ideas on anything from art to education to business. 5 judges will decide which of the ideas should be awarded up to $5,000.

Bill Holsinger Robinson is president of Pomegranate Studios and will be one of those 5 judges. He hopes 5x5 will shine a light on innovative concepts.

“Ideas can’t be these precious jewels because if we think of them as precious they’ll just get locked away like most jewels. But the reality is that they’re never completely refined. They need to bump up against one another to really hone and get that luster.”

Holsinger Robinson hopes the monthly event will make people more open to sharing their ideas and less afraid of rejection and failure. He thinks some people just need a little confirmation that they should go for their dreams.

He suspects even those who don’t win the cash will benefit from the process of fleshing out their idea.

“If in this process we can help those thinkers and dreamers connect with people who are more skilled on the execution side of things, it means more cool stuff gets done in the city.”

More than 70 ideas flooded the group’s website less than 24 hours after the project launched.

The first contest is February 22nd.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.