Howdy everybody! Last week I talked about my Entrepreneurship class, The Management of New Enterprises, and this week I’ve got an update on our weekend fundraising assignment!
In case you didn’t see my blog last week, you can visit it here to learn all about the cool things that we do in BAEP 451. As a quick recap, we study the myths and theory behind entrepreneurship as well as some techniques to assist us in forming our own ventures. Most importantly, though, is that we put these lessons into action! With that, we split up into teams for last weekend and each formed our own plan to raise money for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. By limiting our own contributions to $5 of startup capital and 4 hours of work time each, we had to be creative to design an effective model around our available means.
For this, my group started a campaign called Pump It Up for NFTE! While our first idea of hosting a Yogurtland campaign fell flat with our time constraints, we sat down to determine what students around USC really want. Ultimately, we concluded that with the bike shop temporarily closed in the University Village, students needed somewhere to go to get their bike tires refilled after the summer break! Since we already had a table, bike pumps, and social media, we began our campaign. First, we had to decide on a place and time where there would be lots of bike traffic. Once we had our location, we began to advertise via Facebook to let all of our friends know where we would be and why. In addition to this, we also began a Go Fund Me campaign for students who wanted to donate anyway.
After our time spent spreading the word, we set up on Monday and worked all throughout the day in shifts to help out our fellow Trojans. We adopted a model of free service and then asking for a small donation, as students were more willing to donate when it was at their own discretion. This actually increased our revenue! However, we did run into a few problems, the largest being our competition. As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones with this idea! Two other groups from our class set up on campus on Monday, which definitely lowered demand across the board. However, unbeknownst to us, a bike service station opened right on the edge of campus as well, across the street from our location! While we were excited that students could get their bike fixed moreso than we could provide and that there would be the longstanding service there for when we weren’t out, this definitely lowered our business.
In the end, we learned some good lessons: networking and exposure are a huge driver and knowing your competition is key! I won’t give away my classmates ventures, but instead I encourage you to try this yourself! It is a great exercise to challenge your creativity, and putting your ideas into action is the most valuable lesson of all.