John Cole Glover
The Huntington City Mission invited several Marshall University students to pitch business ideas that could provide additional income for the mission and its residents.
The business plans included everything from recycling centers to restaurants and making homemade soap to furniture repair.
A panel observed the presentations and asked questions, exploring the options and weighing the pros and cons of the pitches.
A plan may be chosen and implemented if the board feels it could help the mission.
Recent Marshall graduate Tyler Williams presented an idea for a pet boarding location and spa, which would cater mostly to Marshall students.
“Some college kids have pets and may not trust them with just anyone,” Williams said. “Especially if they are from out of town.”
Presenters showed the panel the cost associated with their respective plans, as well as a business model and local competition.
Mitch Webb, executive director of the Huntington City Mission, said this was the first Shark Tank style presentation at the mission.
“I could see it happening again,” Webb said. “For some students, it is the first of many times to convince a group of something.”
Webb said the panel is a great way for students to get real world experience. Webb said he wants students to know there is a swell of people who are working together to help those that are less fortunate in Huntington.
“Hope is cropping up on the horizon,” Webb said. “I’d like to thank the Marshall students. There are plenty of good hearted younger people.”
The mission offers job training for residents, as well as food, shelter, GED courses and adult literacy.
The Huntington City Mission served over 106,000 meals last year and is expected to serve 108,000 this year.
The mission is looking for alternate sources of income because many donations from churches it depends on have been declining.
Currently, about 43 percent of income to the Huntington City Mission comes from individual donors, with 11 percent coming from church groups.
The goal of the mission was to become more self-reliant and the students’ presentations were the first step in finding a way to bring in extra income.
John Cole Glover can be contacted at [email protected]