Today we’re excited to feature our marketing intern, Ginger Whitesell as our guest blogger. Ginger shares with us her first whale hunt! Thanks for contributing Ginger!
When I entered my junior year at Arizona State University, the last thing I thought I’d be doing was starting an entrepreneurial venture. But, when a friend of mine, Tyler Eltringham, came up with an idea, OneShot, and needed someone to help him execute it, I was eager to help apply my skills as a marketing and sustainability major and move forward with this endeavor.
What exactly is this project? OneShot is a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide meningococcal meningitis vaccines to college students living in dormitories and university housing, while also addressing the global issue at hand. For every single vaccination administered stateside, OneShot will donate a vaccine to the meningitis belt of Africa. OneShot hopes to prevent the preventable by providing vaccines and educating the public on the importance of getting vaccinated.
Our concept was huge, with an impact spanning across continents, and we needed an initial source of funding equally as large to help jumpstart our project. We determined that we needed our investor to be as vested in Arizona State University as we were, and that it needed to desire an impact and growth as significant as we were hoping for. So, what was our whale? The ASU Innovation Challenge, a competitive grant program in its second year at ASU that invited undergraduate and graduate students alike to submit their ideas for innovation. Winners were awarded up to $10,000 to implement their innovative ideas, and they were chosen based off of a two-round series. The first comprised a proposal that outlined the innovation, impact and implementation of the idea. If a group made it past the first round of selection, they were then required to present their ideas to a panel of judges, justifying in just five minutes why their proposal deserved funding. We knew that this whale was the perfect chance for OneShot to prove itself to the local community, and that if we didn’t go after it now, it would be a while before another opportunity came along.
Before composing our proposal, we examined our whale, the ASU Innovation Challenge, and its criteria in selecting a candidate worthy of its funds. We were on the hunt, keen to show that OneShot was the answer that the ASU Innovation Challenge was looking for, and we sought ways to connect our concept to its ideals. With this in mind, we composed a business proposal that was perfectly tailored to the ASU Innovation Challenge’s needs, giving no doubt that our goals were in line with one other. The hours of fine tuning and attention to detail in our paper paid off when we successfully made it past the first round of judgments, and our initial success became a catalyst in putting forth a large effort to create a memorable presentation. This too, became a commitment to not only explain our idea, but to do so in a way that would make the ASU Innovation Challenge see that OneShot was an investment worth making. Each member of our five-person team wrote a script that addressed a different facet of our organization and how it related to the ASU Innovation Challenge’s needs.
The day of our big elevator pitch came and we presented fiercely within the five minutes we were allocated, hitting hard on the points that coincided with what our whale wanted. Although we were confident that we put our best effort forth, we did not receive any feedback in that moment and would not know until the announcement ceremony if it were enough. The award ceremony two days later could not come soon enough, and the OneShot team gathered to await their decision.
The ASU Innovation Challenge ceremony was a conglomerate of anxious ASU entrepreneurial-minded students, ASU deans and officials and outstanding members of the local community. The room was alive with excitement and anticipation as the winners were announced one by one, along with the monetary value of their award. I, along with the rest of the OneShot executive team, sat on the edge of my seat, eager to hear whether our efforts in this whale hunt had been successful, whether we had the funds to move our organization forward. Finally, OneShot’s name was announced, and we exploded out of our seats to shake the hands of our benefactors and join the other winners lined up on one side of the room. As we congratulated one another on a job well done, we glanced down at the certificate stating the value of our reward. OneShot received $10,000! Another rush of exhilaration flooded through our bodies as we realized that we finally had our whale, and with it the support of ASU.
The past few months have been a whirl of excitement, hard work and organization as OneShot really defines itself and creates a foundation for success. We are determined to make a positive impact on the ASU community and the world, and are excited to continue to prove ourselves to the ASU Innovation Challenge.
What a great whale hunt story! Thanks for sharing it today. You are making an important point that whale hunting isn’t only for the for-profit business world but is also so relevant for all kinds of not-for-profit ventures too.