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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Student entrepreneurs seek success via crowd-funding campaign

     Rochester, Mich. – With the help of Oakland University's Ideas to Business (i2B) Program and OU INC, newly formed and student-owned Ardent Games is launching a KickStarter crowd-funding campaign for its innovative, collaborative board game, The Realm of Agennul. A KickStarter launch party will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 12.

     The Realm of Agennul is a constantly evolving fantasy conquest board game in which artists, writers and gamers can contribute to its evolution. The original game, pieces and characters provide a foundation for community-driven, user-generated content that will be implemented into future expansions of the game.

     "Innovation comes from the sharing of ideas," said Keegan Whitla, creator of The Realm of Agennul and founder of Ardent Games. "Participants have the opportunity to be involved with the development of the game, as well as receive recognition for their hard work."

     Whitla and several student business partners have benefited from business assistance through the i2B program, which offers critical startup resources to Oakland University entrepreneurs.

     "The i2B program and OU INC provided me with the ability to form a cohesive and hard-working team of five entrepreneurial-minded Oakland University students, along with additional resources like advising and facilities," Whitla said.

     Oakland University president Gary Russi explained that this business venture affirms OU's strong commitment to providing students with the knowledge, resources and support they need to succeed in a rapidly evolving business marketplace.

     "Oakland is well positioned to nurture and prepare students for rewarding careers in established industries, but we're also helping to give students with innovative ideas a head start toward realizing ambitious entrepreneurial goals," he explained.

     "I'm excited to see that these OU students are exemplifying the bold spirit that Michigan will need to forge a new path to economic success and prosperity."

     OU INC's Executive Director, Amy Butler, added, "We are thrilled and impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and creativity this team has exhibited in taking an idea and moving it to market so quickly."

     Whitla said Ardent Games is seeking $18,000 to support extensive product testing, additional market research and web site development. In addition, KickStarter funding will help with manufacturing of the board game and further development of an online community at

     The launch party will take place at the OU INC business incubator, located in the Shotwell-Gustafson Pavilion on the campus of Oakland University. Interactive and printable campus maps are available at

     For more information on the event or to get involved with the project, contact Whitla at or (248) 935-0069.

     Oakland University's SmartZone Business Incubator (OU INC) provides entrepreneurial resources and strategic business solutions for developing business ventures. The incubator fosters a healthy environment for the growth of new start-up companies as well as provides support for existing entities. To learn more, visit

     The i2B program supports Oakland University and Cooley Law School students, faculty and employees in turning their business ideas into reality. The program is made possible through key partnerships between The Cooley Law School, Oakland University School of Business Administration, School of Engineering and Computer Science and OU INC. To learn more, visit

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Oakland University is a doctoral, research-intensive university located in Oakland County, Michigan. The university has 133 bachelor's degree programs and 128 graduate degree and certificate programs. Dedicated to delivering a distinctive undergraduate experience that is complemented by the strength of its graduate offerings and research accomplishments, Oakland University is organized into the College of Arts and Sciences, the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and the Schools of Business Administration, Education and Human Services, Engineering and Computer Science, Health Sciences, Nursing and The Honors College. Visit Oakland University on the Web at