Oklahoma State University School of Entrepreneurship graduate students Quinn Vandenberg and Jonathon Button, co-founders of Life Out of the Box, were recently chosen as the 2015 USA Creative Business Cup runner-up.
Vandenberg and Button entered the Creative Business Cup competition and were initially chosen as the start-up company to represent Oklahoma in the national competition. They were subsequently awarded second place on the national level, earning the opportunity to be one of two companies to represent the United States in Copenhagen, Denmark during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November.
“Traveling to Denmark to compete in the Creative Business Cup is a huge opportunity for Life Out of the Box as we will be connecting with potential investors from around the world who have the same vision to stimulate economic wealth in various countries around the world,” Vandenberg said.
“Being a part of an international network of business people, entrepreneurs and government officials could open up several new doors of opportunity that we aren’t even aware of yet, but we are open and eager to pursue everything that comes our way in November.”
Life Out of the Box brings together artisans with their local crafts, global consumers seeking handcrafted goods and children needing free school supplies in developing nations. Launched in November 2012, products are currently made in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Morocco.
Each crafted item is made by a group of local artisans. They are electronically tagged so that a human value chain can be associated with these local micro-economy goods. Consumers are able to view online video clips that show a child in a developing country who receives locally sourced school supplies for free paid for by a percentage of the consumer’s purchase price since in many nations of the world there are no free school supplies.
Vandenberg and Button are both current graduate students in OSU’s School of Entrepreneurship. Vandenberg is pursuing her master’s degree in entrepreneurship and Button is working on his doctorate degree.
Life Out of the Box will compete with other contestants from around the world for a series of Innovation Challenge awards at Global Entrepreneurship Week, have the opportunity to learn at the world finals in Copenhagen and meet with potential interested investors and advisors.
“Attending Global Entrepreneurship Week is a fantastic opportunity for Quinn and Jonathon,” said Bruce Barringer, head of the OSU School of Entrepreneurship. “It not only brings positive attention to their business, but will allow them to network with some of the most influential supporters of entrepreneurship in the world. When people meet Quinn and Jonathon and see the passion they have for Life Out of the Box and learn about the lives that Life Out of the Box is positively affecting, only good things happen.”
Creative Business Cup is an international program that encourages entrepreneurs from various creative industries to expand their business ideas and gives them opportunities to connect with investors. According to their National Partner Guide, CBC “provides strategic benefits for national partners, the national winners and all other participating startups.” CBC helps start-up businesses by focusing on some core components including visibility, creating value for stakeholders and partners, internationalization, and investor attractiveness.
The Creative Business Cup international conference will take place Nov. 17-18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Partners of the cup include the City of Copenhagen, Kauffman Foundation, Nordic Foodworks, Deloitte and Arla, to name a few.