Hope College students have won both first and third place in a local competition designed to foster the entrepreneurial spirit.

A total of seven students from area colleges and universities, including four from Hope, competed in the first West Michigan "Lakeshore's Next Top Entrepreneur" contest on Friday, March 2. Seniors Andrew Popchock of Rochester Hills and Leonardo Morales of Zeeland took first and third place respectively.

Popchock's idea is to develop a computer chip that marathon runners will wear so that spectators can use global positioning technology to track their progress during races, inspired by his interest in following his brother's participation in a marathon. His first-place award includes a $1,000 prize and assistance from local businesses in getting started.

Morales's business plan includes having airlines and airports to work together in recycling to reduce waste. The third-place award includes a $250 prize.

The other Hope students competing in the event were sophomore Camden Brieden of Rockford and senior Craig Root of Holland. The other institutions represented by the competitors were Aquinas College; Baker College of Muskegon; and Grand Valley State University.

Lakeshore Advantage organized the competition in conjunction with national EntrepreneurshipWeek USA, which ran Saturday-Saturday, Feb. 24-March 3. The national initiative was organized to celebrate entrepreneurship, with activities designed to inspire, educate and prepare young people to consider entrepreneurship and innovation in all aspects of their lives. More than 800 organizations, like Lakeshore Advantage, joined the national effort as partners, and activities were scheduled in all 50 states and nearly every major city in the U.S.