Xavier University’s Williams College of Business
will launch a new Student Run Business Program in spring 2015. An informal idea session was held May 1, during which students formed groups and began brainstorming and presenting ideas, including a professional apparel store tailored to students, a food pick-up/ delivery service and a shuttle service.
A team of advisors will work closely with the students to help them craft a viable business plan and provide general coaching/mentoring. The advisors will select the best developed ideas this fall for program funding, and by the end of spring, Xavier’s program will include two to three businesses created entirely by student ideas, teamwork, planning and execution.
“Our focus at the college of business is on experiential learning,” says Brian Till, dean of the Williams College of Business. “I’ve studied similar programs at universities around that country, and in every case I’ve looked into, the students say that it is the single most valuable experience they had while at university.”
Currently, Student Run Business programs are in place at universities like Georgetown, Harvard, the University of Dayton and Loyola University. Besides supporting unique hands-on learning for students, these programs generate revenue that is often directed toward starting additional new businesses (seed capital) or toward student scholarships. After five years, the program is expected to include four to five student-run businesses generating a total of $100,000-300,000 in revenue each year.
“From our standpoint, the increase in entrepreneurial activity and better prepared students will benefit the region,” Till says. “The Cincinnati region has become very interested in supporting entrepreneurship, as well as attracting and retaining talent. This program not only addresses that, but it gives our students a leg up in the field.”
Several members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cincinnati have signed on to help develop the Student Run Business Program as advisors and mentors, including Xavier graduate and founder of Tixers
Alex Burkhart and Mike Bott of the Brandery