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DET x MSU: ShiftBiz – Entrepreneurial Consulting (BUS 491- Summer)

ShiftBiz – Summer 2016

  • Opportunity Statement: MSU students have a lot to offer existing companies beyond the role of traditional “internships” which are the default mechanism for utilizing student knowledge. The internship model when not managed correctly creates an experience that provide very little benefit to the company and very little to the student (with the exception of another point on a resume.) Furthermore, students with an interest in entrepreneurship and small business management often struggle trying to gain experience with small companies as they are not as present in the recruiting process on campus. There is much a student can gain from working with a company founder that can help the student on the development of their own business in the future.
  • ShiftBiz Project Description: The goal of ShiftBiz is to create a temporary “student consultancy” in which students will work with founders of businesses in the heart of Detroit with the intent of providing innovative and actionable plans to help enhance the probability of future success for the small businesses that are critical to the reinvention of the city.
  • Program Outcomes:
    • Students get a truly hands on experience working with a functioning company in which they are looked to for advice as opposed to being relegated to typical “internship labor.”
    • Businesses will receive an actionable report that will be delivered in a professional format reflective of high quality research and active participation by the students
  • Student Deliverables:
    • Scope of Work document developed based on client need.
    • A detailed and “actionable” report delivered to the client.
    • Presentation of project and findings.

Summer 2016 Projects:

  • Bon Bon Bon
    • Students worked with a startup gourmet chocolate company which specializes in creating extremely unique flavor profiles with uncompromising quality. The class had the opportunity to work one on one with the founder, Alexandra Clark and her talented team to create a report that addressed many of the company’s most pressing needs as they look to grow their footprint.
    • Deliverable included:
      • The creation of a real estate selection matrix for future store locations based on target consumer demographics.
      • Evaluation of several major real estate markets which the company had expressed interest in possible expansion.
      • Recommendations on how to create an e-commerce shopping platform that would match their in-store shopping experience.
      • Studied current product packaging and proposed changes to make the experience more user friendly.
    • During this project the students had the opportunity to engage with a luxury clothing manufacturing startup, which is focused on reinventing the fashion industry by sourcing the most environmentally friendly fabrics and providing living wages to prisoners looking to reenter the workforce. The company was founded through a successful crowdfunding campaign and is in the midst of creating a new line of clothing with a more affordable price points.
    • Deliverable included:
      • Evaluation of financing techniques / opportunities that could support the social mission of the company while not diluting shareholder equity.
      • Creation of a “Social media to Sales” guide to help the company more effectively utilize social media to generate e-commerce sales.
      • Researched and made recommendations on e-commerce affiliation programs, as well as intermediary sales channels that would fit their target demographic profile.

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