Micah Miller-Eshleman (left) and Alan Smith (right) started their own web development business while they were students at Goshen College. Today, Miller-Eshleman works for the GC web team. Guess who helped to design and develop the current GC website?
Miller-Eshleman and Smith’s small business startup success is thanks to several factors: the city of Goshen’s LaunchPad business incubator, Goshen College’s entrepreneurship grant and, most importantly, plenty of personal ambition.
Said Miller-Eshleman, “I’ve wanted to start a business ever since I was a wee little kid, and right out of college seemed like a good time.”
When Miller-Eshleman and Smith’s paths intertwined at Goshen, pieces fell into place.
“Two years ago, I got to know Alan Smith, a fellow programmer interested in entrepreneurship,” said Miller-Eshleman. “Over the past year we’ve been throwing around a bunch of ideas, often related to providing tech support and better user experiences to older folks.”
Soon, the pair’s ideas started to become reality.
“We actually co-taught a Lifelong Learning course, Everyday Internet Tools this fall,” said Miller-Eshleman, “and brainstormed the possibility of creating a tablet operating system targeting elderly users, a growing under-served population.”
However, rather than develop the tablet interface for the older generation, the entrepreneurial pair decided to play to their strengths.
“Alan and I both have far more experience doing websites than building mobile operating systems. So, we decided to keep it simple and build a website development studio,” said Miller-Eshleman.
PixelDance is just getting off the ground. Eshleman was proud to report that the business has just accepted their first client.
The business is based out of LaunchPad, Goshen’s business incubator located on the top floor of the Chamber of Commerce. The space was recently renovated to aid startup businesses in integrating with the local business community without being bogged down by upfront costs.
“As students, we pay only $150 per semester and once I’m out of school it will go up to $150 per month [which is] still ridiculously cheap,” said Miller-Eshleman.
The space includes shared offices and several conference rooms.
“It’s been great. We especially appreciate the stand-up desks,” joked Miller-Eshleman.
Miller-Eshleman and Smith were also recipients of Goshen College’s Entrepreneurship Grant. Miller-Eshleman was a student in Venture Planning, a practical class that is required for qualifying for the grant. The class forced Miller-Eshleman to be meticulous with details and planning as he considered business opportunities. Miller-Eshleman built his plan and presented it twice to Venture Planning students and faculty. He received $4,000 towards his business, having proved how each dollar would be spent.
“Honestly, for the size of Goshen College, it’s a really amazing program,” remarked Miller-Eshleman. “The money is clutch, but just as important is all the advice and connections you get from going through the program.”
– By Maddie Gerig ’17, photo provided by The Goshen News