Students design and sell new products to benefit charities and non-profits
When assistant professor Dr. Josh Daspit prepared to teach his master’s level entrepreneurship course titled New Venture Management to graduate students in the McCoy College of Business, he carefully considered how to make the class creative, hands-on and impactful for the community. He looked to the latest trends in teaching entrepreneurship and found an emerging social entrepreneurship approach that only a few universities in the nation have yet to adopt. Within a few weeks, his students were working with several nonprofit leaders across Central Texas and designing products that could be used to raise funds for worthy causes.
The New Venture Management course includes an overview of the entrepreneurial process – from the initial idea for a new business venture, through start-up, growth, and launch. Students learn how to write a business plan, manage all the elements of an entrepreneurial business, and develop an understanding of the requirements of the entrepreneurial life path.
In addition to the curriculum, students participated in a social entrepreneurship project. Each student team chose their nonprofit, developed a product, marketed it, and sold it – donating all of the capital gains raised to their nonprofit partner. Two Texas State classes in the fall 2018 semester raised over $5,000 for the organizations.
In San Marcos, the Southside Community Center, United Way, Youth Service Bureau, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Hays County Food Bank worked with students in the class. In Round Rock, the organizations OutYouth and El Camino Real de los Tejas partnered with students.
The students designed and sold several products for these organizations, including t-shirts with trendy designs, charm bracelets, hats with Texas-themed designs, and colorful tote bags. The group that created tote bags benefitting the Hays County Food Bank earned a boost in sales when they appeared on a TV news broadcast. (Click here to watch Spectrum News interview New Venture Management students)
Dr. Daspit worked to create a unique classroom experience that inspired his students to embody the entrepreneurial spirit. He says the project received positive feedback from both students and nonprofits.
“One of the benefits students took away from the course was a new social perspective that demanded them to have an ear to the community and tap into more traditional marketing tactics. A lot of teams went directly to social media for marketing, which was fine, but the ‘businesses’ that were exceptional went beyond social media and other forms of marketing and realized the value in developing direct relationships with customers. I am hopeful the students take away many lessons from this experience, including the importance of creating good relationships both in business and beyond,” said Dr. Daspit.
Dr. Daspit teaches the course at the San Marcos and Round Rock campuses each fall. Non-profit organizations that are interested in participating in the New Venture Management project are encouraged to contact Dr. Daspit at firstname.lastname@example.org.