Bethel College entrepreneurs aspire to inspire

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) – In the basement of one of the quaint halls on the Bethel College campus is a small room, acting as an office for four campus entrepreneurs trying to send a message of inspiration through a new apparel business.

Seniors Brian Krehbiel, Austin Mitchell, Grant Walker and junior Chase Banister all had a different reason that led them to begin their t-shirt and wristband business called, “I Have Purpose” but they all shared a joint idea of inspiring others to live their best life. Particularly, those with special needs.

“We want people to know to not just go through the motions of life but to live everyday with purpose. Everyone can make a positive impact on the world, and everyone living with purpose looks differently,” Mitchell said.

“I Have Purpose” is intended to inspire, empower and give back through their simple message. For Mitchell, it’s personal. His brother Allen has special needs and has benefited greatly from belonging to an organization called HEROES in Austin, Tex., which teaches life skills and job skills to those with special needs. The young entrepreneurs have decided that any money they make through “I Have Purpose”, they will donate 10 percent back to HEROES.

“I’ve seen him inspire and encourage others, just like you and me,” Mitchell said.

The students have spread their message on campus and off-campus at sites like the Mennonite Relief Sale. So far, people have been curious and supportive about their business, even willing to wear wristbands and donate to their crowdfunding site on Kickstarter.

“So that was great to see for us how receptive people were to the message and willing to spread it for us,” Krehbiel said.

Using Kickstarter, the entrepreneurs have garnered over $6,000 toward their $10,000 goal to begin their business. They have four more days until the crowdfunding site expires and, it’s all or nothing. They won’t receive any of the funds raised if their total goal isn’t raised by the deadline.

So, the pressure is on. Using social media and word-of-mouth, they’re using their resources to spread “I Have Purpose, making unique video content to spark interest.

“You know why not use that as a positive light in a world full of negative things going on right now,” Banister said.

If the crowdfunding site does not fully fund, they say they’ll stay at it: inspiring others and helping empower those with special needs has become an important cause to all through their journey.

“If people have disabilities, and they recognize that they’re valued in society, then they can use the ‘I Have Purpose’ to understand that as well,” Walker said.

For more information on “I Have Purpose”, click here.


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