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Students Serve as Real-Life Business Consultants
Susquehanna University
Susquehanna University

April 11, 2018

Business students from Susquehanna and Bucknell universities met with several business owners recently to pitch ideas on how to take their small businesses to the next level.

Organized by Emma Fleck and Bahman Radnejad, both management professors in Susquehanna's Sigmund Weis School of Business, in collaboration with Bucknell's Small Business Development Center, the event was an exercise in entrepreneurship.

"When Bahman and I began teaching entrepreneurship, we knew we would not teach it just as a way to start a business," Fleck said. "We knew we would teach entrepreneurship as a mindset, as a way to solve problems and be creative in that mindset."

The Challenge

Students heard from three Lewisburg-based business owners who were looking for ways to expand their businesses:

  • Emily Heuer, Salty and Baked, was looking for ways to expand her baking business beyond online sales and delivery.
  • Kaitlin Schuck, Threading Love was looking for advice on how to tell her business' story of social responsibility in more compelling ways.
  • Nisan Trotter, Trot Fitness, was looking for strategies to manage the upcoming expansion of his business to include a second location.

The Solutions

Students split into nine teams-three teams dedicated to each business. After a 45-minute session that had them quickly doing business and industry research and brainstorming marketing strategies, each team had 90 seconds to pitch their solutions to Heuer, Schuck and Trotter, who then chose the winners.

"It was nice being able to bounce ideas off of each other, said Kevin Flatley, a senior finance major at Susquehanna University from Drexel Hill, Pa. "Especially people with different majors."

Students came up with ideas that ranged from having Salty and Baked partner with another Lewisburg business for in-store sales to overhauling Threading Love's website, to membership discounts and promotions in celebration of Trot Fitness' second location.

"I loved the fast-paced nature of it," said Schuck. "As a business owner, you get immersed in the details, and it would have taken me a while to achieve their perspective. They don't have the built-in biases that we do as business owners."

Winners from Susquehanna were Emilie Boman '18, business administration, of Tinton Falls, N.J.; Alexander Messick '18, business administration, of Mountain Lakes, N.J.; Tara Montis '19, luxury brand marketing and management, of Williamsport, Pa.; Davis Rooke '18, business administration, of Mount Vernon, N.J.; Nolan Stone '18, business administration, of Exton, Pa.; Jonathan Wallace '18, luxury brand marketing and management, of Perkasie, Pa.; Douglas Webb '18, global management, of Alfred, Maine; and Bucknell University students Claire Anderson, Serena Tramm and William Wall.

Winners received Amazon gift cards.

What's Next?