This year as a Coleman Fellow, I had the pleasure of incorporating the Spartan Trader Retail Store into entrepreneurship courses at UNCG, specifically ENT 240. The Spartan Trader Retail Store is a learning laboratory built around experiential entrepreneurship education that sells student, faculty and staff made products on consignment to the public. More information and media coverage on the Spartan Trader can be found on the Coleman Fellows website.
The task was not only challenging because of the scope of work, but also because there was no blueprint to learn from. The Spartan Trader project started as an idea last summer and came to fruition during the Spring 2012 semester, which anyone in academia will tell you is a huge achievement in that timeframe. With very little budget aside from the grant provided from the Coleman Foundation, we were able to incorporate over five classes with dozens of students, provide income to over thirty consignees and serve hundreds of patrons. Overall, the year was an overwhelming success and without Coleman it would not have happened.
The Coffee Cup sessions were very beneficial to the achievements at UNCG this past year. I learned strategies, not only for the store, but also for the classroom. One specific example was the pre/post test for entrepreneurship, enabling professors to observe the changes in entrepreneurism of students before and after a specific course. Another example was using websites such as Kickstarter.com to not only search for funding, but provide inspiration to the students. I understand that everyone is busy and we only have an hour each month, but I would like to hear regular updates from other Coleman Fellows with their initiatives. I know these are available on the Coleman website, but a verbal update during the sessions would be advantageous.
Speaking with others at the CEO Conference was another fantastic benefit to being a fellow. I learned of a project to give students in my entrepreneurship course $5, with the assignment to make as much money as they can with that money in a weeks time. This project will be incorporated into my course this year.
Without the help of the Coleman Foundation, the Spartan Trader would not be what it is or will be. UNCG hopes to continue the phenomenal relationship we have built with Coleman. We want the Spartan Trader to continue to advance and serve as a model for other Universities to incorporate experiential entrepreneurship education into their curriculum.