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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Student Business Venture Successful for Students

Learning experience profitable for students.

Amanda Dyslin, Mankato Free Press, May 2, 2012

MANKATO — There was a lot on the line — a $2,500 bank loan, burgeoning cred­it scores, pride.

But the Minnesota State University Integrated Business Experience stu­dents succeeded under pres­sure this semester, paying back United Prairie Bank last week and even making a profit to donate to Kids Against Hunger, said profes­sor Claudia Pragman.

The students are donat­ing $1,700 to Kids Against Hunger, which is in addition to the almost 300 hours of volunteer time the 16 stu­dents put into that organiza­tion, Riverside Pet Shelter, ECHO Food Shelf and IMPACT.

“Yes, we (were) very pleased with the students’ work, and we do plan to continue the IBE program in fall 2012,” Pragman said of the pilot program, adding that IBE will expand in the fall to include an additional marketing course.

The idea behind IBE was to allow students to develop and run a real-world busi­ness. They sold two prod­ucts.

The first was a collapsible water bottle for $5. It’s reusable, which is environ­mentally friendly, and when it’s empty, it can be col­lapsed and stored in a per­son’s pocket or bag.

The second product was a T-shirt with a vintage Maverick logo that originat­ed on campus gear in the 1970s. The athletic depart­ment gave the OK to the group to resurrect the logo exclusively for their T-shirt, which they sold for $10.

The cheap price tag, as well as the vintage logo, helped make the shirt appealing to college kids, said group CEO Tom Odegaard.

The T-shirts went over so well, Pragman said, that the students had to reorder twice due to a couple of large corporate orders.

The whole project was about experience, the group said in March, not profit, which is why they donated the money they made after the loan was repaid.

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