He got planted in 5th grade running sound for church and school events. He grew in his college years, expanding into lighting and sound while working audio-visual full time at Covenant. He has blossomed into contracting, supervising, and putting on small events of his own. The payoff for junior Paul Walters’ taking ideas and putting them into action: $10,000. Living out the tagline, Walters was named the winner of the second annual Seed Project for his creation of Redwood Sound.
With only 10 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes of fielding questions from the panel, Walters used his past experience to effectively communicate his idea.
Redwood Sound will focus on the untapped, overlooked market of small events (up to 1,000 people). Walters noticed a gap between production levels — smaller events tend to get shorted on quality because of their smaller budget. Hopefully with Walters’ experience, contacts, and now funding, Redwood Sound can fill the void between quality and cost.
“People can expect production quality on par with the bigger production companies at a more affordable price point, all with a specialized focus on smaller events. We can make sure the production is streamlined and transparent; the rest is up to the performers,” said Walters.
Ten thousand dollars for Walters means three things: equipment, advertising, and legal and insurance start-up costs. Walters explained in his presentation that owning his own equipment will mean generating more revenue because the cost of renting will be eliminated.
Even without a current marketing strategy, Walters’ website has generated business for Redwood Sound — Walters has put on 5 events in the month of April. One of Walters’ top priorities is to work on generating even more clients through advertising.
“I’m planning on working with several friends to revamp the branding for the company in order to present a catchy, memorable kind of company image,” said Walters.
In the meantime, Walters has a couple of projects to work on first. The Seed Capital Panel has the ability to place contingencies on awarding the seed money. In order to guide Walters, the panelists have requested that he check back with the them in one month to demonstrate that he has found qualified mentors, specifically to help him in the legal and financial areas, and to demonstrate his ability to cost a job.
“When I read Paul’s business plan, I was expecting it to be more techy in its orientation,” said Chris Dodson, Head of the Business Department and Seed Project Panelist. “A whole other dimension of Paul came out when he spoke of his experience managing a crew in Atlanta that was not presented in the business plan. That’s when I became more impressed with his concept.”
Dodson said that the contingencies on the award exist to benefit Walters by offering him developmental advice.
As Walters’ starts a second growing cycle with Redwood Sound, the annual Seed Project looks for more ideas to plant.