Arts and Culture

Could a JMU class project boost funding of independent films?


Struggling independent filmmakers may soon have a new resource for funding: FilmFire. FilmFire is a fundraising platform focused solely on companies producing independent documentaries.

Judges crowned FilmFire the No. 1 idea during the recent Venture Creation class presentations. Other competitors included three other new business ventures: LegacyLink, Green Showers and CARIIDE.“I had no knowledge of business. This class took me through the steps of creating a business." — Taylor Brusky

The LegacyLink team presented an idea for digital storage of photos. The system uses an algorithm to provide photo element recognition, which helps with organization of photos. Green Showers focused its product, which uses solar energy to heat water, on the hotel industry. CARIIDE is a ride sharing service aimed at college students and guarantees a pickup within 15 minutes.

Venture Creation (MGT 472) is a senior-level management class that offers students with entrepreneurial interest the chance to develop and focus on new ventures. Students who take the class collaborate with an entrepreneur/mentor who helps them along the way.

Junior Taylor Brusky, a member of the FilmFire team, says, “I had no knowledge of business. This class took me through the steps of creating a business. John Rothenberger and Carol Hamilton were amazing resources.” She adds, “I would recommend this class to anyone, especially anyone who has a dream of starting their own business someday.”

Aaron Ludwig, owner of Jack Browns, and Buddy Gadams, founder and president of Marathon Development Group, were the judges.  Entrepreneurs/mentors included Jon Craver, Accenture (Retired); Ryan Houlihan, Houlihan Financial; Mark Langer, Equity One; and Karl Stoltzfus, Select Aerospace Industries.

Serial Entrepreneur John Rothenberger worked with the class throughout the semester and said, “This is my favorite part of the semester. We teach students that it’s OK to fail. We teach them to think differently, to understand what viability is. It’s awesome to see these students come in one way and leave another way. They’re different people.”

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Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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