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Keith McCord ReportingOne group of students at Weber State University is celebrating, but not because they received a diploma. They're excited because they're on the cover of Business Week Magazine.
The nationally distributed weekly featured the Weber Entrepreneurs Association, part of the business school there.
If you're an entrepreneur and need some start-up money for a business, you might have to pitch your idea to a group of business and marketing majors at Weber State University.
Jake Wilcox, an alumnus of Weber Entrepreneurs Association , said, "That's always a fun moment, asking a company representative a hard question that they weren't expecting to get from a group of students, seeing them pause for a minute and then say, 'You guys mean business.'"
They do mean business, and that's part of the reason they were featured on the cover of Business Week Magazine. The Weber Entrepreneurs Association was formed several years ago at the urging of Alan Hall, whose company, "Grow Utah Ventures," provides money for up-and-coming businesses. And there are a lot of them out there!
Hall tells KSL, "Oh, there were probably 700 business ideas that came our way from a lot of entrepreneurs, and we had to decide who to fund."
That's where the students come in. They filter out the good ideas from the not-so-good and pass them along to Hall. They're trained to ask the hard questions.
Over the course of an academic year, these students gain valuable experience.
Blake Beus is with the group. He said, "We do get a lot of training, which is a great benefit to us because we are able to learn what organizations that fund new start-up businesses are looking for."
One of the underlying goals is to find new companies that are from Utah and are willing to stay here: companies which will help grow the economy. It's a win-win for the entrepreneurs who get funded and for the students who helped them get there.
Student Rob Sanders said, "The other thing that's a real incentive for us, we might also be creating a company that some day we may end up working for, after we graduate."
Being featured in a national business magazine certainly brings attention to the students and the Goddard School of Business. It also creates a "buzz" for the whole university.
Audrey Penrod, who is majoring in marketing, said, "It's a great opportunity for us to gain some publicity for the school and show them what we're doing for the community and the students here at Weber State."
That's an impressive group of students--they all want to run their own companies someday, and they are all confident that they will.
This program is unique, and colleges and businesses around the country have taken notice and have asked for advice about how to set up similar programs.