On Nov. 15, the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship and the Student Entrepreneurship Association hosted a blue-themed Micro Business Marketplace featuring businesses created by students in ENTR 360 Entrepreneurship for Owner-Operated Businesses. Each semester, students in the class form teams, develop business concepts around a shared theme, and then unveil their products at the Micro Business Marketplace.
“The ENTR 360 students actually get to see how well their idea is received in a real-life situation without the usual guesswork of an untested idea,” said Mark Peterson, a McGuire Center Lecturer who is also a successful entrepreneur.
Open to students in all fields of study at The University of Arizona, ENTR 360 Entrepreneurship for Owner-Operated Businesses is a fast-paced introductory course that sets aside theories and text books to focus on entrepreneurial principles and the real-world factors that can turn an idea into a success. Students in the three-unit course learn how to expand and grow a business with an emphasis on learning practical skills such as effective leadership, negotiation and setting yourself apart from the crowd.
“The most important things we learned in class was the importance of scalability,” said Paul Wildum (Political Science ’18). “Everything else that you learn throughout the class attributes to the growth of your company in the most structured way possible.”
The Student Entrepreneurship Association had sponsored the event in the past, but this year, club members decided to participate too. During club meetings, they discussed ideas, created products, and developed pricing plans.
“Participating in the Micro Business Marketplace was great real-world experience for the club students,” said Ted McGuire, McGuire Center Community Relations Coordinator.
This year, part of the proceeds from the event were donated to Handi-Dogs, one of the oldest assistance dog training programs in the country.
Because the student teams worked independently to create their business concept, participants do not find out what their peers are selling until the day of the event. Seeing the business concepts unveiled was a highlight, said Chris Howing (Communications ’20).
“It’s neat to see the ideas that other people have had,” he said. “It can spark creativity within yourself.”
The experiential learning nature of this course is not unusual for entrepreneurship courses offered through the McGuire Center, said Center Director Remy Arteaga.
"While sales is not often taught in a hands-on way, the McGuire Center prioritizes experiential learning," he said. "In ENTR 360, students have the opportunity to learn about sales by creating a product and seeing what it actually takes to sell it in a real marketplace."