From startups to major corporate projects
While one aim of the Entrepreneurship Clinic is to train students to be entrepreneurial thinkers. The other main objective is to run a successful clinic that solves real problems for their clients. An example of a successful venture working with the clinic is Filter Easy.
On Filter Easy’s website, this business describes its service as home “air filters delivered when it’s time to change them.” The founders were students in the NC State entrepreneurship program, and with an office in downtown Raleigh on Fayetteville Street, their business has been recently featured in Forbes Magazine.
The NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic does a lot to assist startups in their first phases, but that’s not to say that larger companies do not also seek out their help. Global jewelry manufacturer, distributor and marketer Richline Group and athletic wear company Under Armour both have used the clinic in entrepreneurial projects.
How students help businesses
“Those outside the program sometimes wonder what college students might have to offer a company with the experience and resources of Under Armour,” Sheats said. “There are so many ways the clinic is able to solve common business problems by applying emerging best practices.”
Sheats mentioned business development, customer discovery, customer validation, revenue models, pricing models, market research and creating user interfaces as a few of the common services provided to clients of all sizes.
Students’ ‘two paths’ to launching careers
Sheats said there are two basic paths that students take from the program. One is to use the clinic to start their own companies, like the founders of Simplify Cosmetics or Pitch & Primer did. The other is to find work based on the connections and training achieved during the clinic experience.
For an example of this, Sheats mentioned a student who was helping a startup try to mimic some of Tesla’s success by learning from their business model. After repeated contact and interviews with Tesla on the subject, the student was offered a job with Tesla after she completed her degree.
How to connect with the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic
While the clinic is willing to work with businesses during the early phases of the startup process, it does require projects from non-students to have at least completed the launch phase. The organization, funding for the project, marketing strategy and other major elements can remain unfinished.
To apply for one’s business to partner with the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, there is an online application on the website. Prospective students can also find information there on how to apply for admission to the program.
This article was written by WRAL for the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University as part of WRAL’s sponsored Spotlight series.