May 22, 2022 Supporting Manhattan-area entrepreneurs, businesses, events

NEXT Student Design Competition Sparks New Business

Manhattan, KS – Caleb Amundson, Kansas State masters student, remembers what it felt like when he won the Steelcase Design Alliances NEXT Student Design Competition. The competition challenges undergraduate students to create a space of the future to win a chance to be selected as a semi-finalist to visit Steelcase, present to professional judges and ultimately compete for prizes.

“I was in a room with four of the most talented human beings I’d ever met in my life,” Amundson recounted. “I was completely awestruck when I found out I’d won. It was really humbling to get to be a part of this team of people.”

Now in his final year at Kansas State, Amundson says it wasn’t winning that meant the most to him. It was going through the competition’s process. By developing, producing and presenting a strong concept, he gained skills and confidence.

In fact, just one week after he won the competition, Amundson’s friend approached him with a business idea. He wanted to open a coworking space in Manhattan, Kansas and he needed help. In just 13 short weeks, the friends went from idea to reality and opened their new business venture called The Fellow.

“I don’t think I would be in this position had I not had the opportunity. It wasn’t the success that came from the project. It was working on something of this quality — quality research-based design really pushed my ability to apply it to a real-life situation,” said Amundson.”

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