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Students and Small Business: Learning Together

Business Students Help Micro Entrepreneurs Succeed

Of the five micro entrepreneurs who presented their product or service in class, the students chose three: a cleaning business, a taco stand and a daycare (Jessica Olthuf photo).

This semester, the BUS2 134B Integrated Marketing Communications class within the College of Business will take a new approach to learning by serving as consultants to small businesses in neighborhoods near campus.

“Our students will work with real businesses and real individuals with real issues when it comes to their area of expertise,” said Professor of Marketing and Decision Sciences Marilyn Easter.

The three-unit capstone course focuses on using effective communications marketing solutions to a targeted audience, mainly through promotions.

The businesses are in or near neighborhoods served by CommUniverCity, a collaborative project of the Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace communities east of campus, SJSU and the city of San Jose.

SJSU concentrates service-learning classes in these neighborhoods with the goal of building community and engaging students in civic life.

Business Students Help Micro Entrepreneurs Succeed

Throughout the semester, student consultants will work in teams to apply skills that they are learning in class to create the best marketing promotional plan (Jessica Olthuf photo).

Student consultants

Throughout the semester, student consultants will work in teams to apply skills they are learning in class to create marketing promotional plans.

Of the five micro entrepreneurs who presented their products or services to the class, the students, with guidance from professors and staff, chose three: a cleaning business, a taco stand and a daycare.

John Dance is one of 18 students in the class who will apply theory to practice.

“I’m learning what it takes to build a solid business plan,” Dance said. “I’m excited to acquire knowledge from the class.”

Building community

According to Easter, the goal of the pilot program is to create an ongoing project that allows micro entrepreneurs to work with SJSU students and to become part of the San Jose State community.

Already, the project has brought together a cross disciplinary team including several SJSU marketing instructors and students, local residents, CommUniverCity leaders and Catholic Charities staff members.

“It’s a fantastic relationship that everyone can benefit from,” Easter said.