New lab offers students real world experience

Seth Roy

What is a cecropia? What is the market for cecropias? How much should be charged for a cecropia?

These are just a few examples of questions students will hear answers to as they participate in the entrepreneurial lab, which is located in the College of Business Administration.

The entrepreneurial program is in its infancy right now, and the lab is just one part of the program. Starting this fall, students can work on a number of real business projects.

Students will be divided into teams to work on each project. They will create business plans and marketing strategies for start-up and established businesses. The students will come up with the plans themselves, but will have the help of the businesses they are working with, as well as Kent State’s first entrepreneur-in-residence, Lee McMannis.

McMannis is a 1970 graduate of the university who has a lot of experience as an entrepreneur.

“At the time that I was here,” he said. “I had started my own business.”

He said he is happy to be the university’s first entrepreneur-in-residence. He got involved with the program through his involvement with the Business Advisory Council.

“One of the big goals of the lab is to attract students – to really bring in cross campus, cross discipline, interaction,” McMannis said. “I am very surprised at the amount of enthusiasm I’m finding.”

George Stevens, dean of the College of Business Administration, said he is happy with the response so far, but is not surprised. He said the ability to apply classroom lessons to the real world is vital, and students are eager to take advantage of the experience.

“I find when the students can relate to something they can do with their life, you better get out of their way,” he said.

On Oct. 14, McMannis hosted an open house to answer student questions on the program. Ten students showed up to this session and learned about the projects available for them to work on.

“This is a very new and growing program,” McMannis said at the orientation. “What I think is planned and designed here is pretty unique.”

Students attending the first open house were eager and excited to participate.

“When I get out of college, I’m going to start a business,” said Jeremy Boal, senior business management major. “I can learn from other people’s mistakes and triumphs.”

Anyone who is interested in the entrepreneurial lab can attend another open house today at 1 p.m. in room 324 of the Business and Administration Building.

If interested students cannot attend, the lab is in room 320 of the building, and McMannis’s office hours are posted on the door.

Contact College of Business Administration beat reporter Seth Roy at [email protected].