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Business school start-up competition supports child's wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is partnering with the business school to make Aiden’s wish come true. The students are raising money through a flash startup competition.

Casey Harris, a student taking Business 500: Entrepreneurship & Business Planning, said Aiden is the focus of her startup product. Harris and her partner are selling glow sticks at Saturday’s football game against N.C. Agricultural & Technical State University.

“We thought that if you centered the business and everything around those causes, you could end up probably raising more money for that,” she said.

James Kitchen, Harris’ professor and entrepreneur in residence at Kenan-Flagler, assigned the project to take students through the entrepreneurial process.

The projects, run by pairs of students, officially started Wednesday. One pair, including Kim McCormack, another student in the class, sold shot glasses in the Pit.

“I’m actually a math and chemistry double major, but I’m taking this class because I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship, and this is helping me with real-world application of how to make a profit,” McCormack said.

Each team received $100 to start a business. Kitchen said this is the fourth year of the flash startup, and each year the results vary.

“Some come up with amazing plans to create online platforms, and others sell cupcakes, and you often can’t tell which will be more successful,” he said.

Students Joseph Lucido and Hailey Jacob gave away ice pops near Wilson Library on Wednesday and asked for donations to raise money for their project. Jacob said she and Lucido gave away the treats because students were more prone to donate.

Lucido and Jacob are members of the Global Learning Opportunities in Business Education program. The business school program, known as GLOBE, partners with the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Copenhagen Business School to give business students the opportunity to study for a semester at each school.

Christopher Mumford, a business school professor who teaches the first module of GLOBE at UNC, said the program usually has about 15 students and is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

“(Now) we’ve got this flash startup project which is this wonderful, crazy invention by Jim Kitchen to help students get a street-smart view of how to start a business,” he said.

Mumford and Kitchen have a friendly competition going between the two student groups. Kitchen said some of the competition’s proceeds go to the Community Empowerment Fund to provide cars to new homeowners transitioning from homelessness.

“We think we’ve got a great group of students, and I think Jim thinks the same, but we’re going to let the results (tell),” Mumford said. “Everyone is going to win out of this; it’s one of those crazy, everyone wins ideas.”


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