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Business School Contest Challenges Students to Open Coffee Shop
OKLAHOMA CITY — A contest at Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business is asking students to formulate a business plan to open a coffee shop. More than a classroom exercise, the winning entry will be used to establish an actual coffee shop in the school’s first-floor student lounge. “The faculty at the Meinders School of Business wants to extend business learning beyond the classroom and take it to the boardroom,” said James Guzak, professor of management and co-organizer of the contest. “Creating an actual, working business plan is a great motivation and the perfect way to collect fresh, creative ideas.” Guzak said the contest offers many side benefits for students including exercising disciplinary skills that employers look for when hiring workers. The contest is open to all students regardless of major. Teams are asked to write business plans that include a vision statement and ideas for promotion, special events and space layout. Teams will also give an oral presentation to a decision board. Meinders School of Business faculty members are contest judges. The winning team will be announced in late April with a business launch set for the fall semester. They will become the first paid managers of the coffee shop. Student Murod Mamatov said one of his main motivators for entering the contest is to help future students obtain an education. “The money raised from this business will go toward the school and scholarships,” Mamatov said. “I’m also interested in seeing how well my entrepreneurial ideas stack up against others. This will be something very useful for my resume.” Mamatov teamed up with business school classmates David Spitzer and Kristen Osiek for the contest. Even though they are early in the process, Spitzer said he enjoys working with others on a real-life business model. “We have to consider all of the details involved in opening a new business, so I expect we’ll learn many things along the way. The judges need to know everything from the specific location to the price of equipment we’ll need, from the business vision statement to our targeted customer segment. This is a great exercise for anyone who ever wanted to start their own business.” For more information about the contest, visit Photo: OCU students Murod Mamatov, left, and David Spitzer sit in the Meinders School of Business student lounge. The two teamed up to join a contest to build a business plan for a new coffee shop that will go in the lounge.