Two years ago, then-Muskegon Community College student Cody Theil won the inaugural Sarnicola Entrepreneur Award, a $10,000 grant from Nick Sarnicola and the Next Generation Entrepreneurs (NextGen) presented to an MCC student for the best entrepreneurial concept in an annual competition.
Sarnicola started NextGen as a non-profit organization in 2011 to help young people realize their passions through entrepreneurship.”
Since receiving the award, Theil has created his own firm, Thought Bucket, which connects student graphic designers with area businesses in need of their services. Thought Bucket has generated $26,716 in revenue – including a 60 percent increase in its second year – while working with 18 different clients. More than two-thirds of them are return customers. The company has branded seven start-ups and has funneled $5,227 back to the student designers.
Last week, Next Gen, after hearing a progress report by Thiel, approved an additional $5,000 to Thought Bucket for its third year and final year of Sarnicola Award funding.
“You took this up 60 percent this year,” Sarnicola told Theil. “Take it up another 60 percent next year.”
“Cody is a brilliant young man with a true entrepreneurial mindset,” added Patrick Adams, the Executive Director of NextGen. “Cody has learned a lot about starting and running a successful business over the past two years and that’s what it’s all about. The skills he has learned are applicable in his business, relationships, and his personal life. NextGen is proud to have been a small part of his journey!”
In 2018, Thiel earned a Graphic Design Entrepreneur associate degree from MCC. He then attended Grand Valley State University for a few semesters before directing his fulltime efforts into Thought Bucket, a marketing company he conceived during an entrepreneurial class at MCC. His concept, based upon his own frustrating experience, was to empower talented students whose good ideas were being ignored by businesses because of the students’ relative lack of experience.
MCC’s Entrepreneur Program continues to help high school, college students, and adults to develop strong business ideas for local businesses to grow our economy. For more information please call David Stradal at (231) 777-0304.