Calvin Startup Garage entrepreneurs took home a variety of prizes at the recent MWest Challenge. The annual event is a consortium of local colleges and universities who seek to enhance business and economic culture through educational, occupational, and entrepreneurial efforts. The MWest Challenge—their annual business pitch competition—includes pitches to a panel of judges along with poster presentations.

Daniel John took first place in the Finalists Pitch for his development of BiliRoo. BiliRoo’s patent-pending technology uses filtered sunlight to provide phototherapy to treat neonatal jaundice while promoting essential parental skin-to-skin contact in low-resource settings. Daniel is a triple major in mechanical engineering, chemistry, and biology.

Michael Lanning took home second place for the creation of Kombrewcha in the Showcase Event. It is the first of its kind, countertop kombucha brewing device. Similar to a coffee maker, it creates a kombucha without the traditional labor intensive process. Michael is majoring in mechanical engineering.

Jack Nielsen pitched his boat rental company in the Innovation Showcase. Borrow My Boat connects boat owners with lakeside vacationers to rent a boat for a week of vacation. Jack is majoring in marketing and entrepreneurship.

“Calvin Startup Garage continues to cultivate the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Calvin University,” said Jon VerLee, entrepreneur in residence and director of Calvin Startup Garage. “Pitch competitions like MWest Challenge give students an opportunity to showcase their ability to solve problems with viable products. The future of entrepreneurship is alive and well in West Michigan.”

Contact Jon VerLee at to learn more about Calvin Startup Garage including its growth beyond Calvin University. A series of small, intimate dinners of 10 people will occur throughout the next few months in West Michigan. Dinners are designed to help working professionals take the next step in starting their own business, either on the side or to replace their day job. Attendees can share the challenges they face, receive connections, and leave with actionable feedback to take the next step.