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MSU seminar gives first-year students experience starting a business

msu kids podium.jpg
Posted at 4:51 PM, Dec 15, 2021

BOZEMAN — It's finals week for students at Montana State University, and for first-year students, they got to see firsthand what it’s like to build a business from start to finish, all ending with a competition.

“It’s really an opportunity for them to feel like they are a part of the MSU community. By working together in these groups they are building relationships both professionally and personally that will last throughout their lives,” said Hans Dierenfeldt, an instructor in MSU's Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship.

For students in Dierenfeldt’s class, it’s the culmination of a semester-long project where students get to learn first-hand the process of creating a business from the ground up. They pitched ideas ranging from an app that connects care for seniors to late-night food trucks.

“Taking it from addressing a problem to addressing a solution and then really investigating the in-depth and the intricacies of that solution,” said Dierenfeldt.

For students taking the class, they can combine their passions and see their product come to life.

“I’ve always loved business and I've always loved sustainability. Being able to look into it more with this project has been really awesome,” first-year MSU student Delaney Ivankovich said.

For many, it helps them fuel that passion for the rest of their undergrad and even post-grad.

“I did DECA through high school which was a business thing and I have loved it. I'd love to go into business, be an entrepreneur and start my own business one day,” said first-year student Preslei Henkins.

Students in the class get a chance to experience what it’s like working with a team showing them the good and the bad. “You just don’t know how you are going to work that you have only known for a couple of months,” said Ivankovich.

A first-year student like Henkins taught her. “How to work well with other people and how to make and how to make a business project,” said Henkins.

This class gives the potential for start-ups, apps, and businesses to be born.

“I would love to see a bunch of our students move on in the professional realm as well as starting their own small business in the future; this is the foundational concept on which to do that,” says Dierenfeldt.