By Janesha Moses '16 | Vol. 3 Issue 1
Do you have a great business idea stuck in your head just waiting to be developed? How many great business plans have you thought of and forgot about because you didn’t have the opportunity to make them a reality? Startup Aggieland has made pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors and success a way of life with their Startup Living Learning Community.
The Startup Living Learning Community (LLC), otherwise known as the “Dormcubator,” is a student business accelerator that places students in an environment where they can collaborate and work on their ideas together. It is a program aimed at freshmen with the aid of sophomore peer leaders, so students are able to learn from one another. The Dormcubator, located in Hullaballoo Hall, has 24-hour access to facilities with resources like offices, labs, study areas, and more. Not only does the Dormcubator provide students with an atmosphere to foster creativity, but it also promotes events that students can participate in to share their ideas. Students like McCalley (Mac) Cunningham ’18 are a testimony to the success of the Startup LLC.
As a freshman last year, Mac won the Shark Frenzy event and a $5,000 Investment Prize. She finished in the top 12 at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization’s 2015 National Elevator Pitch Competition held in Kansas City. She was named by the Mays Center for Retailing Studies as this year’s Rising Star Award recipient, which qualified her to travel to Dallas for the Retail Summit. And for the second year in a row, Mac advanced to the top 20 for Food+City in Austin, a competition where students pitch a business idea to improve the logistics of food distribution globally. Her concept, “Go Fresh!,” provides a way for consumers and restaurant owners to keep their produce fresh longer.
“The Food+City Challenge has been a major contribution to my success as an entrepreneur. I entered college with one goal—to make a difference,” Mac stated in her Food+City blog. She goes on to say that “the competition prepared me for the development of my business. I discovered my target customer, how I would sell my product and how I would reach my customer. This event opened so many doors and helped me grow as a person.”
Aside from living in the Dormcubator, students in this LLC must enroll in a course, Intro to Entrepreneurship (MGMT 289), which is geared toward helping their future business plans succeed. In doing this, the students are constantly in an environment that pushes them toward accomplishing their goals. But that isn’t what most students seem to love about the LLC.
“The selling point for students to join the LLC is establishing a foundation of like-minded but diverse friends and faculty whom are entrepreneurial and innovative as well as collaborative and supportive,” according to Shelly Brenckman, Startup LLC manager, MGMT 289 instructor and Startup Aggieland marketing coordinator.
So far, the Dormcubator has been successful in producing promising and innovative students. This spring, the students will go from entrepreneurial brainstorming to implementation. There are sure to be many new and exciting innovations to come!