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Entrepreneurship in Action students presented a check for student scholarships to then-interim Carlson dean Jim Campbell.
Entrepreneurship students get a bonus lesson in philanthropy
By Steve Anderson
From M, fall 2006
The U's Carlson School of Management is known for teaching students innovative ways to turn a profit. But the lessons a set of 2006 graduates took with them into the working world weren't just about making money. They were about giving it away, too.
This past winter, biz whizzes in a new Carlson School undergraduate course called Entrepreneurship in Action hatched two ideas that grew into money-making ventures: uSuits, iPod covers emblazoned with university logos, and U-Guide, a 70-page one-stop shop for incoming freshmen (see sidebar).
Through selling advertisements to businesses around the Twin Cities campus, the U-Guide's eight-person team brought in some $36,000-a nice chunk of change to help defray the rising cost of being a student. But not for the students who actually made the money.
Entrepreneurship in Action participants knew going in that they wouldn't be able to keep their revenues. Even so, they were committed to putting their hard-earned cash to good use. "We put our heart and soul into this business," says U-Guide Chief Operations Officer Travis Boisvert, "so we wanted [the gifting of the profits] to mean something."
The group decided to set up an endowed scholarship to help provide future entrepreneurship students access to a quality Carlson School education. "None of this would have happened without the University," explains U-Guide Chief Executive Officer Ryan Broshar. "To benefit the people and the institution that gave us the opportunity just made sense."
A New Guide to the U
When freshman arrive on campus this fall, a new resource will be awaiting them. The U-Guide, created by a team of students at the Carlson School, bills itself as the "roadmap to college life." It rolls information about student groups, University services, campus hang-outs, and more into a single manual. In less than a year, U-Guide has grown into a thriving business, with plans to expand to other universities. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another factor in the decision: the President's Scholarship Match, which doubles the payout on endowed funds, resulting in twice the impact. "We wanted to have the most impact for the most people, and the match helped us do that," says Boisvert.
Both the U-Guide and uSuits teams presented a check at the Entrepreneurship in Action final class presentation last May. Roy Wetterstrom, B.S.B. '86, an entrepreneur and undergraduate director at the U's Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, made it clear that the scholarship was the students' idea. "The teams got together and brainstormed on what do with the proceeds," he told the crowd. "They decided they wanted to give them back to the University."
Even though the money for the scholarship came from a successful business, don't call it a corporate gift. "It's from students, for students," says Broshar. For now, the "B.S.B." behind his name seems to mean at least as much as the "CEO."