Student team expects to open eco-friendly business soon

by Sheila Yancy


L to R: Marta Hrecznyj, Ken Siegner and Cindy FingerGreenStart Batteries, a startup created by a team of three students with an idea for an eco-friendly and cost effective alternative to new battery purchases, expects to open for business soon.

The GreenStart Batteries team includes Cynthia Finger and Ken Siegner, both MBA students in the School of Business Administration, and Marta Hrecznyj, an electronic art major focusing on environmentally conscience products.

GreenStart Batteries restores batteries for watercraft, cars, trucks, motorcycles and lawn equipment to the manufacturer’s original specifications then sells them at half the cost of a new battery.

“Seventy percent of the batteries recycled can be regenerated, extending their useful life three to five years,” said Finger, team lead and a serial entrepreneur with 15 years of successful small business startup experience.

“We have the product and equipment but are waiting on funding for a location to begin regeneration of mass quantities of batteries,” she said.

Despite the lack of funds, Finger said the team is optimistic about the future and plans to move forward with expectation of receiving the needed funding. They already have the location selected, marketing materials ready for production, a trained staff in place and one client secured.

Over the past six months the team has worked diligently to put together their business plan, entering it into various competitions. They placed second in the Skandarlaris Business Plan Competition of the 2011 SESI Midwest Entrepreneurship Conference, winning $950. The competition was hosted by the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization of Eastern Michigan University. The team also won the second place prize of $300 in the Michigan Boost Elevator Pitch Competition held at Michigan State University. The team reached the semi-finals of the 2010-11 MI Clean Energy Prize, sponsored by DTE and the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, but was eliminated in the final round.

“We are pleased to have made it that far out of 23 teams,” said Finger. “The entire team presented exceptionally well and put forth an excellent effort. It was an exciting experience.”

“We will continue to compete in student competitions and feel very confident we will place in the top ranking,” she said. “We are hopeful we will earn enough money to start our business in the next few months.”