Wildcat Ventures provides students with on-campus business experience, while simultaneously providing services and products to the ACU community.
Wildcat Ventures is a collection of seven student-run businesses on campus. The team was originally established in the Fall of 2012 under the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy as a business chapter of the ACU Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Each individual business is led by a student who is selected by the Wildcat Ventures executive team and named CEO. Each CEO then has a set of employees that work under them.
The seven current businesses under Wildcat Ventures include Purple Collar Tees, Stratagem, Wildcat Software, Aperture Research Group, Sales and Distribution, The Crossing Cafe and Earthworks Composting. The most recent addition is the composting business.
Purple Collar Tees (PCT) is a t-shirt company that works with social clubs and other organizations to create easily accessible online custom orders. The company consists of many sales representatives to help run the business.
Stratagem is a graphic design firm that consists of a team of specialized graphic designers, often partnering with Morris and Mitchell.
Wildcat Software is a software programming company that develops applications and web designs, currently partnering with COBA.
Aperture Research Group (ARG) is a marketing research firm that creates and sends out surveys, then analyzes the results.
Sales and Distribution follows through with special projects like the “Coffee Sales Challenge” by teaming up with Mission Lazarus and holding a contest for students to sell coffee to receive a certain prize. The purple and white rooter poms at the last ACU Football game are an example of a recent product that came from the company when they partnered with SGA and ACU Athletics.
“We are brainstorming things for future sporting events,” said Courtney Eubank, president of Wildcat Ventures and senior accounting and music major from Phoenix.
The Crossing Cafe is a cafe for students and faculty located in COBA, offering coffee and snacks throughout the week and doughnuts and kolaches on Fridays. Cold brew coffee will soon be available, as well.
Earthworks Composting is the newest company that began offering a compost service last year by collecting food waste from the Bean and from bins outside of the eHub, or Moore House, on campus. The company aims to work with Hardin Simmons University’s cafeteria to increase compost production. The compost will be pre-sold and volunteers will be sent out to sell it by bags of cubic feet for plant fertilizer. The business has already decreased food waste from the Bean by 20 percent, Shelby Watson, CFO of Wildcat Ventures and senior finance major from Pearland, said.
“The compost company is making some really big steps this year,” Eubank said. “I’ve heard of a lot of people that have started recycling and composting but they don’t really have a place to put it. So this is a cool way, I think, for them to get involved and that actually come full circle. To see them composting and then purchase it and use it. It saves so much waste.”
Wildcat Ventures currently is made of of 35 total employees, including the executive team. The executive team consists of President Courtney Eubank, Vice President Evan Beck and CFO Shelby Watson.
“It is smaller than it used to be, but we’re on an upward trend,” Watson said. “We’re already looking into experiments to start new businesses and we’re working on two new business ideas. Each year we try to add a business to the collection, so we are working on that right now. We’re really excited about the prospects for this year.”
Students can keep up with Wildcat Ventures and the various businesses through their new Instagram (@wildcatventures). Some of the individual companies had Instagram pages start up last year. Watson said Purple Collar Tees did especially well gaining media followers through Instagram picture challenges.
“We saw that and we were really encouraged by it,” Watson said. “So the executive team made the decision to encompass all of the businesses onto one Wildcat Ventures Instagram. That way if you hear about one thing, you’ve heard about everything.”
Wildcat Ventures will be looking to hire employees for a new executive and CEO team next semester. Eubank said she looks forward to more students getting involved and that they will be sending out applications soon.
“I love that it’s an opportunity for students to find their path in the world,” Eubank said. “I think it’s a really cool way for them to see what exactly they’re good at or what their bad at or what they could work on. Obviously, Ventures is teeny-tiny compared to the real world stuff but it definitely changes your perspective on how you view businesses and how you view your job. I love watching my CEOs take their company and grow it. This is the space to do it. And the fact that we can provide it and we are actually making profit every year in order to keep funding it is just such a cool thing, to me, that I don’t think anywhere else on campus can really offer that same experience.”