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Business Plans Come to Fruition

Student teams pitch to judges to complete first semester

From theorizing to team-building to creative-thinking, first-year students in The Freshman Experience: Biz 1+2 program spend the semester generating a body of ideas and exploring possible avenues for a business venture. At an early stage of your education, you will realize the value in understanding the whole business process. Working in teams, you will develop a business idea that uniquely solves a problem for a target market. With the help of dedicated, full-time faculty, you will formalize a business concept and work through the challenges of starting a new business.

As your first semester comes to a close, teams finalize their business plans and showcase their innovative ideas in a final business plan presentation to a panel of Saunders faculty and experienced judges. The presentation provides students the opportunity to receive practical, real-world advice; knowledge that only comes from experienced entrepreneurs.

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Local Saunders College alum Michael Crowley stresses the power of learning, especially as a first-year student, and credits the Freshman Experience: Biz 1+2 program. Learning to think creatively, learning to innovate and learning to be entrepreneurial is all about thinking. Then, it is about doing. He serves as a panel judge during the business plan presentations and was impressed by the quality and creativity used by every group in developing a problem that was not only worthy of solving, but also worthy of receiving seed funding at the very earliest stage.

All students participate in their team's business plan presentation. According to Crowley, it's clear that every group works as a real team, a required skill regardless of where their career path may take them in the future. As a judge, our goal is to be fair and give the students a taste of what it is really like to give a business pitch in the real world, said Crowley.

Furthermore, most teams incorporate some type of technology that serves as a key driver in solving their problem, from a relatively simple mechanical designs that solved significant problems, to software geared to the specific venture objective. Being immersed in a technology university, most students realize that every business needs to create and utilize technology that is unique to attract the attention of venture capital.

Very few freshmen at any school get this kind of experience or are allowed to be totally creative, innovative and entrepreneurial. I enjoy seeing how excited students are to give their ideas life, said Crowley. These students are alive. Not just walking the halls on autopilot in between classes. They are having fun learning as a team.