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43 BizEd November/ December 2014 T he ultimate goal of a busi- ness degree is to help a graduate land a job or start a business. Here are a couple of school-sponsored initiatives that not only allow students to run the shop, but also encourage them to pay their success forward. ■ Five years ago, Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph part- nered with Rocky Mountain Choc- olate Factory (RMCF) of Durango, Colorado, and entrepreneur Steve Craig on a program that provides hands-on learning and leads to business opportunities for gradu- ates. Craig, a real estate developer and namesake of the Craig School of Business at Missouri Western, asked faculty to create a program that would enable new graduates to become entrepreneurs within six months of graduation. The resulting program is an applied entrepreneurship class open to seniors and alumni. It culminates in a competition, where students present a business plan for a fran- chise. Proposals are judged by faculty, university officials, RMCF executives, previous winners, and successful entrepreneurs. Since the program's inception, students have been awarded 18 stores in 13 states; in 2013, those stores generated total sales of US$6 million dollars. New owners have access to volunteer business executives who mentor them; they also receive a loan that provides working capital and covers the cost of intensive training, moving expenses, and the purchase price of the franchise. While purchase prices have varied by location, the highest loan was for $250,000. Craig loaned the money to the first nine winners, and loans for subsequent winners have been financed by RMCF. In addition, Missouri Western faculty members and executive advisory council members provide ongoing mentoring, consulting, and assis- tance for three years. Winners agree to pay off their start-up loans within five years and make donations to Missouri West- ern from their profits. They also serve as peer advisors for students in the applied entrepreneurship class and frequently create intern- ships for the students. Because winners are running their own businesses immediately upon graduation, the program is truly transforming lives, says Pam Klaus, director of franchise programs. She adds, "We believe this program has been successful because it starts with a class in the business school, includes internships and franchise training, and then continues after class with strong support provided by business execu- tives and alumni." ■ Students are responsible for run- ning three different businesses at Pace University's Lubin School of Business in New York City, all three overseen by the university's Center for Student Enterprise. • The Pace Perk Café, founded in April 2010 by two students, is a late-night café spot open from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Ten student managers run the business, which employs 13 students and had sales of $125,000 in 2013. With retained earnings of more than $20,000, the Perk was able to make a $5,000 loan to the newest student-run business, Pace Mart, for startup funds. The Perk also serves as a learn- ing lab for other students: Last fall, a graduate auditing class did an audit of the Perk, which provided valuable insights to both the gradu- ate students and the student man- agers of the Perk. • Pace Connect is a student-run call center that works on behalf of university clients. When it was founded in the fall of 2012, it con- tacted alumni to raise money for the Pace Annual Fund; within a year, it was also contacting graduates on behalf of Pace Career Services to collect information about alumni jobs. It now also makes calls for the Office of Student Assistance to help current students set up payment plans for past-due balances; the Office of Student Success to identify second-semester freshmen who are having problems or considering not returning to Pace; and the Office of Enrollment to invite admitted stu- dents to attend preview events. A team of four student man- agers runs the business, which employs 20 students. The center operates out of an accounting classroom, using Skype to make calls and to track data. The business had revenues of $26,000 this year and has retained earnings of about $2,000. • The newest operation, Pace Mart, is a convenience store run by eight students who negotiated with Pace Administration to plan the enterprise. They're working with a new type of student account called Dawg dollars that will allow students to use their swipe cards to make purchases. The store was piloted in April in a small area of the school library, but a full store was planned for the fall; it will employ at least 20 students and be open eight hours a day. Innovation That's…Entrepreneurial

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