The Southwest ISBDC has long been known for its collegiate management program. Small businesses obtain management assistance through projects conducted by a team of local university students. This year, however, area high school kids from the IDEA Club participated as well.
Over a course of 6 months, a series of meetings and presentations occurred. 5 teams consisting of USI students, under the direction of Dr. Nancy Kovanic, and the IDEA club students, under the direction of Christine Prior, came together to address a specific business issue of a local area business, the Evansville Otters. The Otters are looking for new ways to attract more families to their games and needed help determining the best way to do it. The Otters identified a project called “the kids zone”. This is an area for kids ages 2-12 to have fun during the game. Brandon McClish and Kenton Hargis with the otters prepared each team with the wants and the needs of the business and what they were looking to accomplish. The teams were then put to work to analyze the project and make a final recommendation to the Otters including the locations of the kids zone within the historic Bosse Field, the type of equipment that would be purchased, the operations of the area as well as how to market this new idea to the community.
“The results of this project were outstanding!” said Kenton Hargis. He felt that the research and final project recommendations were all that they needed, along with funding, to complete this project by the 2010 baseball season. President and CEO of the Evansville Otters Wilfred Bussing, III stated, “the cost of the advice couldn’t be beat. We have had five consultants (teams) working for free!”
This was a great experience for not only the kids involved gaining real world experience including research, public speaking, and marketing skills but for the client as well. The Evansville Otters received the benefit of 5 consultants providing a viable solution to ensure that they become an even greater asset to this community.