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Group completes first co-starters course

CO-STARTERS: From left to right, Arijit Banerjee, CEO of Consumer51, Keith Gillenwater, CEO of Grow Wabash County, Beverly Ferry of Living Well in Wabash County, Amanda Lopez, president and founder of Transform Consulting Group and Julie Garber, program director for the Community Foundation of Wabash County stand together after Ferry was selected as the recipient of the $12,000 grand prize at the end of the Co-starters for Causes course.

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

After a nine week entrepreneurship course, Living Well CEO Beverly Ferry has been awarded a $12,000 grant for her public transportation initiative.

Co-starters for Causes is a nine week course hosted by Grow Wabash County at Inguard that focused on solving social issues led through teamwork and collaboration between local leaders and nonprofits.

“People on a mission to make an impact in our community were encouraged to attend this program geared toward helping individuals put ideas into action, turning a passion for bettering the community into a tenable and prosperous endeavor,” according to a press release from Grow Wabash County.

The final session of the course included a pitch from all participants and a grand prize of $12,000 worth of digital marketing services from Consumer51.

Arijit Banerjee, CEO of Consumer51, chose Ferry’s plan to create a transportation service that travels Wabash’s main roads with stops on the north, east, south and west sides of town, including stops at local grocery stores and Parkview Wabash Hospital. The buses will be able to divert about a quarter mile from their path to make individual stops for people with mobility issues, Ferry said.

She’s hopeful that the help from Consumer51 will give her a clearer picture on how to effectively use social media platforms to market the bus service, its routes and stop times. Looking toward the future, she said she hopes to one day create an app for the bus service.

Other graduates from the nine week course include Cheryl Working with Daniel’s Place, Janet Shoe with FISH Food Pantry, Sherry Searles with the Child Care and Early Learning Coalition, Susan Peebles with Somerset Redevelopment Group, Theresa Onderko with Education for Conflict Resolution, Cynthia Johnson with the Learn More Center and Rachel Guyer with Little Friends Daycare and Preschool.

Grow Wabash County CEO Keith Gillenwater said this Co-starters for Causes class challenged those with non-profit ideas to think like a for-profit business. He they participants “really embraced the concept” and he’s looking forward to the next cohort in the class.

Ferry hopes to launch the bus service this summer.