Assistant Professor of Management Brent Rosso wanted to re-design his 400-level Entrepreneurship course to create a more dynamic and active learning experience for students. The Alderson Endowment with MSUAF helped make it happen. Rosso described a project requirement, dubbed Entreprentice, he developed within the course as “an opportunity laboratory, where students can safely experiment with new ideas, pitch them to others, test hypotheses about their venture concepts and learn from failures and successes.”
Rosso’s re-designed course is pushing students outside of their comfort zones and challenging them to pursue novel solutions that meet marketplace needs. Given $25 by Professor Rosso to start-up a business and get it going in just three weeks, one of the Entreprentice teams came up with the idea to build a bike-taxi creating a service to ferry people around campus and sell advertising capacity to local businesses.
Bike-taxi team member Jake Brown, an anthropology major and business minor explained, “We have a contract to advertise for a local café and have asked taxi customers to pay what they could knowing profits would benefit the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT). In early October the bike-taxi team presented GVLT with their $311 profit and are looking forward to giving more rides during upcoming campus events.
Another of the Entreprentice teams from Rosso’s fall course designed, manufactured and sold metal bottle openers in the shape of the state of Montana. The team marketed their Spirit of Montana bottle openers via social media, took orders through an online website and utilized PayPal® to secure payments.
Team member Ryan Cap, a senior majoring in management, enlisted his father’s company to help. “My dad works for a metal fabrication company in the Chicago area. We sent him a design electronically and he made 118 for us to start.” With strong online sales, the team soon needed to re-order and opted to also sell their product at the stadium during the homecoming football game in October. Team member Taylor Stults said, “We ran out by halftime and wished we had ordered more.” GVLT was very grateful to receive the Spirit of Montana team’s profit of $851.