As part of the Nonstop November contest for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), the members of St. Teresa’s FBLA toured Millikin’s newest student-run venture, Blue Brew, located in downtown Decatur inside the Hickory Point Bank building. The Blue Brew is a coffee shop that also serves teas, specialty drinks, and snacks. St. Teresa students were given a chance to talk to the current students from Millikin University that developed the idea as part of a class within the Center for Entrepreneurship.
FBLA students at St. Teresa operate a very similar business located in the high school called the K9 Kafe, which has been thriving since its creation back in 2007. “The K9 gives students practical experience on how to run a business including financials, marketing, inventory, accounting, customer service and much more,” says Sandra Bronson, the K9 Kafe’s faculty sponsor.
After the tour, students then proceeded to the Tabor School of Business where students participated in an Entrepreneurship activity called the “Business Model Canvas” (BMC) with current students in Millikin’s Entrepreneurship program. Julie Shields, the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship explains, “The Business Model Canvas is like a ‘business plan on a page’. It is a graphical organizer for the complexities of imagining a business. The whole point of the BMC is to help young and old entrepreneurs who are working with dynamic business models see how everything connects.”
St. Teresa Junior, Lauryn Pugh, shared, “It was really cool to see that the students at Blue Brew were doing what we do here at the K9 but on a whole other level. Hearing from them first-hand on how they came up with the idea and developed it on their own was very interesting.” As to her experience with the Business Model Canvas, Pugh stated, “Personally, I’m not a very creative person, but I got to see what kind of creativity I could come up with and how the model works in a real-world experience. It made us think about more than just the business idea though, we had to consider everything that went into it including our customers, marketing plan, and resources needed.” Lauryn is leaning more towards taking the pre-med route, but is also interested in minoring in some form of business recognizing, that “business operations are important, especially if I were to open my own practice in the future.”
To wrap up the day, students had the opportunity to take a tour of the campus, eat lunch on campus, and discuss Millikin’s marketing strategies currently used and what Millikin could do to better present itself to high school students.
Students that attended this experience were: Rylie Danner, Gracie Pugh, KT Vorhees, Shirley Syed, Taylor Prasun, Robert Malkamaki, Noelle DeJaynes, Mary Shupenus, Lauryn Pugh, and Sydney Allen.