PLNU Names Its Entrepreneur of the Year

Date: 
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Luke Harmon, a 2010 business administration graduate from PLNU, was named the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Fermanian School of Business (FSB) at Point Loma Nazarene University. Harmon was one of five finalists in the FSB’s Entrepreneur Enrichment Program (EEP).

Harmon’s project, EHipp, is developing medical records software for overlooked sectors of the health care industry.

“Thank you so much for providing a platform for me to work on this project,” said Harmon. “This experience has been incredibly challenging but at the same time amazing, and I have loved every second of it!” 

Following a nearly yearlong process that began with the annual EEP Exposition and “pitch” last September, five student entrepreneurial ventures received mentoring throughout the 2010-11 academic year while developing a detailed business plan. There were three experienced entrepreneurial mentors for each venture from a wide variety of business interests throughout the western U.S. The mentors also served as judges for the plans. The plans were completed and submitted by April 15, 2011. The judges then had two weeks to review the plans on a secure online site. 

“In the past year, I have dove fully into eHipp,” said Harmon. “I have read books and articles, interviewed physicians, nurses, and medical students, attended classes and conferences, job shadowed venture capitalists, and met with recognized leaders and thinkers of medical innovation. Through this process, I have felt like it was up to me to find a place where this software could work and succeed. You will see from the business plan that I believe I have done that.” 

Randy M. Ataide, the EEP advisor and PLNU professor of entrepreneurship said, “Each year presents a different variety of projects and entrepreneurial interests, and this year was no exception. What stands out in this year’s program was the dedication of most of the entrepreneurs to maximize the opportunity to be mentored.”  

The FSB announced Harmon’s award at a banquet attended by approximately 85 entrepreneurs, mentors, students, and supporters on Wednesday evening, April 27, 2011. 

Harmon earned a total of $3,000 in funding from the EEP Endowment towards supporting his entrepreneurial endeavors, and was mentored by Stephen Thesing, Robert Harp and Bart Grunau, all experienced EEP mentors.

Other honorees included brothers Derek Jackson, a senior double major at PLNU in business administration and music, joined by his brother Marcus Jackson, a PLNU business administration alumni from 2007, for their project Forte Gigs, a musician promotion and management company for student musicians, who earned an additional $1,500 from the EEP Endowment as well as winning the Dave and Dorothy Latter Free Enterprise Award. PLNU MBA John Cosby earned $1,500 from the endowment as well as nabbing the Social Entrepreneur Award of another $200 for his project, BorderTraffic.com.

The other completed projects were by Carl Gardner, a 2010 business administration graduate, who created Gardner BioFuels and Reid Sund, a 2010 accounting graduate, who developed Care Connection. All participating projects that completed the EEP received $500 each, and additional projects were announced for the 2011-12 EEP.

Craig Van Hulzen, CEO of Van Hulzen Asset Management in Jackson, Ca., and a co-founder of the EEP and the EEP Endowment, stated “ While not a year of large numbers in the EEP, the quality of the completed plans is the best by far in the history of the EEP. It reflects the evolving nature of the EEP and the rising expectations of quality among the participants.”