After a semester of experimentation, the Venture Out program returned to the template it has followed for the past decade.
The Venture Out program is a feature of the Introduction to Business course. Students form groups of six to eight, develop a product concept through market research, find a supplier, receive a $500 loan from the College of Business Administration and attempt to sell the product for a profit. The loan must be paid back; profits are given to a scholarship and charity.
“We wanted students from the very beginning of their business studies to have a hands-on experience,” said Dr. Monty Lynn, associate dean and professor of management. “Venture Out provides an opportunity from start-up to harvest to see all the functions involved in running a business.”
Last semester, Venture Out changed slightly toÂ accommodateÂ long-standing feedback. Lynn said many students asked for smaller teams and would prefer a hypothetical business venture.
“We kind of beta tested those two changes,” Lynn said.
Team sizes were reduced to a maximum of five and products were no longer sold. Lynn evaluated the changes at the end of the semester and said the majority of students preferred to actually sell products.
“We went back to the original design,” Lynn said. “We made a shot at some innovation, but we’re returning to the original model.”
This semester, students have been selling products as per the old Venture Out model. Megeste Pierre, junior Bible and ministry major from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, participated in Venture Out as a business management minor. Pierre and his group sold tank tops.
“It went well,” he said. “I actually would like to continue something like that because the profit goes out to help some children in Abilene, and that’s a good thing.”