Driven by the client's tenacity, student consultants worked day and night to provide entrepreneurs with what they needed to succeed.
Students who took part in the Entrepreneurship and Empowerment South Africa (EESA) program unanimously agree: “This ranks as one of the most life-changing experiences they have ever had.” Masu.
Described by students as the most hands-on entrepreneurial learning experience of their college career, EESA is a six-week, credit-bearing summer course that transforms students into consultants, helping them build businesses. We support low-income, emerging entrepreneurs in their early stages.
This summer, University of Colorado Boulder business, engineering, and arts and sciences students formed teams with local South African students, as well as students from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Florida.
Their mission is to do everything possible to help entrepreneurs succeed. But no one said it would be easy.
Eric Muller, executive director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship in Leeds, has co-led the program for 11 years. “Every year, I think, 'I'll never be able to do this again.' But then I hear students say, 'Wow, I accomplished more than I ever thought I could.' That's why I come back every year. ”
The summer of 2023 was an intense and sometimes grueling six weeks. When the days feel long, the nights feel even longer. Needing to quickly solve a business problem, the team worked hard late into the night, designing a logo and implementing a budgeting tool. They have developed deliverables that address all aspects of their clients' businesses, including marketing and sales, employee contracts, customer relations, and inventory management, to name a few.
Renewable energy is desperately needed
Students spent countless hours with clients, learning about their lifestyles, challenges, cultures, and communities, and became emotionally invested in seeing their clients succeed.
The first task for Madison Cataldo (Management, Entr'23)'s consulting team was to rebrand Troy Hufkie's business, which sells, installs, and maintains generators, inverters, batteries, solar panels, and security systems. . Hufkie, a South African entrepreneur, named his company 'The Business Consulting', which was a misleading description of his business. Considering that the demand for his services is rampant due to continuous power outages (load shedding) and rising crime rates, the team has created “Powering the Future, Protecting the Present: Alternative Energy, Security, And a generator.”
Additionally, we implemented a comprehensive human resources program, modernized our website, created and executed an extensive prospecting and sales program, established a new financial management program, and implemented a new CRM platform.
“My time in South Africa was very transformative. The impactful experience was extremely rewarding and left a lasting impression on me. The resilience, hard work and complaints of the entrepreneurs “His ability to face challenges without saying anything was truly inspiring,” Cataldo said.
Stacey Jane Smith runs a personal wellness and skin care company called African Secret, which produces locally produced products native to South Africa.
Upon learning about Smith and her business, the first thing student Forrest Mondlane Jr. (Mktg'24) and his team realized was that the product needed a major rebrand. So, packaging was revamped to communicate high quality and validate the price increase, all accomplished on a zero budget.
Mondlane's team also streamlined the production process to increase efficiency. Smith handcrafts her products. They established an effective bookkeeping system to replace haphazard systems of tracking income and expenses. Finally, they brought African Her Secret to more stores and trained Smith in building relationships with retailers.
“The most difficult part was getting the entrepreneur to accept big changes. She was open to it, but we found she was hesitant about some of the things we suggested.” Mondlane said.
But by the end, he said, the most rewarding part was seeing how inspired and empowered she felt. “We see her recognizing the true value of her business and her newfound confidence that her products are out there to make a difference in personal care. I was able to pull it out.”
Big efforts bring big rewards.
“Leading this program is what I am most passionate about all year long,” Mueller said. But I do it because it literally changes lives. Students see firsthand how they improve their lives. ”
This year, they changed the lives of 16 entrepreneurs and their families.
To date, 136 UW Boulder students have participated in EESA with a newfound respect for the critical role that entrepreneurship and innovation play in the nation's economic development.
Why Leeds? Deming Center for Entrepreneurship Leeds Center of Excellence