New Enterprise Problem winner to open gaming middle in March | Enterprise

Jonathan Berg would be the definition of being in the precise place on the proper time.

A stay-at-home father of 11 with a self-described “entrepreneurial spirit,” Berg paved an auspicious path over 5 months from merely having an thought to successful the Waseca New Enterprise Problem. The win, and the accompanying $30,000 prize, will equip Berg to open his first enterprise, Good Sport Gaming Middle, in North Ridge Plaza in Waseca in March.

This system represented Waseca’s first-ever new enterprise competitors, consisting of a 10-week entrepreneurship coaching program facilitated by the Small Enterprise Growth Middle of Minnesota State College, Mankato with a enterprise pitch competitors on the finish. It was launched in Might by the Waseca Space Chamber of Commerce and Lead For Minnesota with the goal of spurring financial progress in Waseca.

Berg is this system’s first winner.

There are parts of most conventional jobs that Berg has a distaste for, like being on the whims of a supervisor and the ever-present risk of being laid off for causes generally past his management. Born and raised in Waseca, he graduated from Waseca Junior/Senior Excessive College in 2000 having taken a variety of enterprise courses and generated some concepts.

“I’ve simply by no means pulled the set off,” Berg mentioned about making these concepts a actuality.

What helped him lastly do it was the small ask of the New Enterprise Problem utility — a 250-word description of an thought for a brand new enterprise. He submitted his in Might, weeks earlier than purposes have been due. He knew it was a good suggestion.

“Folks at all times say, ‘How can somebody watch somebody play video video games?’ However folks do it identical to they watch any sporting occasion,” Berg mentioned. “They’re promoting out stadiums … I used to be like, ‘How does somebody become involved in that motion?’”

Berg’s enterprise thought needed to do with the booming trade of digital sports activities, or esports. These are principally on-line multiplayer video games — not the standard arcade recreation like Pacman or Donkey Kong. YouTube’s high creator, PewDiePie, who boasts greater than 102 million subscribers, made his identify importing movies of himself taking part in video video games. When Berg talks about sold-out stadiums, he’s not exaggerating.

Greater than only a enterprise thought, although, Berg thinks critically concerning the time mother and father spend taking part in video video games with their youngsters as a approach to join with them.

“Not everyone realizes this,” he mentioned. “As an alternative of going out and throwing the soccer, they sit down and play Mario Kart … Children like video games. It’s a method for households to return collectively.”

As soon as the New Enterprise Problem began, although, it wasn’t nearly having an ideal thought — it was laborious work. Berg described the 10-week coaching course on all issues small enterprise, which included arising with pitches, listening to from native enterprise homeowners and extra as “intense” and “fast-paced.” However he loved it.

The ten-week training portion of the Waseca New Enterprise Problem, which started in August on the higher flooring of the Waseca Artwork Middle, included lectures, visits to native companies and extra. (File photograph/

“Everyone can have an thought, however getting that concept on paper and in a format that wins new enterprise challenges is a special story,” Berg mentioned.

Representatives of six potential companies gave their six-minute pitches on the pitch competitors on Nov. 6 on the Waseca Artwork Middle, with every pitch being adopted by a nine-minute Q&A.

Pitches included Bernadette and Daryl Kehler’s Rise and Shine Espresso Home, a group espresso home with a drive through that might showcase paintings from native Waseca faculties. Cory Stencel and Nikkie Gilmore pitched Waseca Ink, a full-service ink store that may print on something, out of your automotive to your physique — within the type of tattoos — and will even develop 3D printing capability. Meat veterans Dean Morgan and Chris Devetter of Morgan’s Meats need to begin promoting their merchandise exterior their very own retailer, not simply in native shops and fuel stations, however throughout state strains.

What adopted have been hours of deliberation by a panel of seven judges, leading to triumph for Berg.

“After I gained I used to be like, do I cry, do I bounce for pleasure?” Berg mentioned. “While you put all that effort in, that work, after which it involves the place you win — it was a fairly superior feeling.”

Jonathan Berg new business challenge

Jonathan Berg, posing along with his plaque and one in every of his 11 youngsters, gained the Waseca New Enterprise Problem on Nov. 6 for his new enterprise, Good Sport Gaming Middle, which is able to open in Waseca in March. (Photograph courtesy of the Waseca Space Chamber of Commerce)

Molly Byron, program coordinator for the Waseca New Enterprise Problem, mentioned she was immensely proud and impressed by the outcomes of this system and competitors. Along with making a close-knit cohort of entrepreneurs and plans to open up New Enterprise Problem conferences to extra aspiring entrepreneurs in Waseca, Byron mentioned that each one the competitors members — not simply the winner — intend to open their companies.

“On the finish of the day, [each competition participant] will be capable of be a profitable enterprise proprietor when possibly they wouldn’t have with out this program,” Byron mentioned. “I feel it’s going to make a huge impact on Waseca.”

Extra than simply offering an area for players in and round Waseca that they didn’t have beforehand, Berg mentioned he’s excited to be “making gaming a household factor in Waseca.”

Berg plans to supply greater than 300 accessible on-line video games, tournaments, camps, gamer coaching and extra at Good Sport Gaming Middle.

Attain Reporter Julian Hast at 507-333-3133. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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