Topics: Miller College of Business, Students, Alumni

May 19, 2021

Entrepreneurship Students

The Entrepreneurship Center at Ball State University has hosted another successful E-Day, or Evaluation Day, providing senior standing students an opportunity to present their venture plans to an external panel of business leaders.

Of the nine students who recently defended their plans, all nine were awarded passing grades, adding to more than 35 years of esteemed program graduates. As one of the first entrepreneurship programs in the country, the entrepreneurship major at Ball State focuses extensively on experiential learning, the inclusion of professional mentors, and the importance of growing and maintaining networks.

The Entrepreneurship Center has recognized outstanding new venture plans since 1987. These prestigious awards are determined by E-Day panelists and recognize students who demonstrate an exceptional business plan and a well-crafted presentation. Thanks to a generous gift, the Ronald A. Minichillo Entrepreneurship Venture Development Award was established in 1999, which provides winners with a monetary award.

“One of the best things about our program is the freedom our students have to pursue new venture concepts about which they are passionate,” said Krystal Geyer, assistant director of Ball State’s Entrepreneurship Center. “It is incredibly inspirational — and fun — to watch our students take early-stage ideas through the customer validation, feasibility, and financial viability stages to produce thorough, well-written business plans.”

This year’s evaluators nominated Alyxandra Ledford for the Outstanding New Venture Plan award. Ledford’s business venture is Manatee Key, an all-inclusive, intimate island with a destination wedding/honeymoon focus.

Ledford, a junior from Greenfield, Ind., will remain at Ball State, where she is majoring in Entrepreneurial Management and minoring in Hospitality and Food Management. Following graduation next year, Ledford hopes to work for an event planner and take steps to turn Manatee Key into reality.

“Writing a business plan from scratch was the perfect way to showcase everything I’ve learned in college and to expand my knowledge even further,” Ledford said. “The plans my classmates and I created are the product of hundreds of hours of work, as well as feedback from mentors, professors, and advisors.”

Of the nine students who defended business plans this year, concepts included Mikey Brewer’s sustainable caviar harvesting, Gwenyth Baer’s nonprofit performing arts academy, Dustin Flynn’s 180-degree firearms training grounds, and an adrenaline-fueled racing experience from Brad Sexton.

This year’s graduates also include Michael Demski, with his alternative funeral service, Reflect; David Ryerson, who hopes to provide UVC lighting sanitization services to assisted living facilities and medical offices; Chloe Harman, founder of a subscription box service to help users reduce their environmental impact; and Carter Anderson, whose concept, FamLeo, aims to serve men struggling with pornography addiction.

For more information on the Ball State University Entrepreneurship Center or to get involved with the program, visit or email