Money don’t come easy

Coffee, t-shirts, pins, trail mix, and hot dogs for sale! Every semester for the past three years, students at the University of Vermont have transformed the campus into an extension of Church Street with one common goal in mind: to make money.Dollar Enterprise, an activity that integrates all aspects of business: brainstorming, organizing, managing, marketing and selling, is offered by the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics through the course of “Introduction to Community Entrepreneurship.”Dr. Kathleen Liang, the instructor of the buisnness class and the monitor of Dollar Enterprise, provides her students with the seed money for each new venture team: $1 to each individual. “This young generation has been so lucky and pampered-the kids take a lot for granted,” Liang said. “It isn’t until you sit there three times a day that you realize what goes into having your own business.”Each Dollar Enterprise team is responsible for gathering all the resources necessary to run their business. With only a dollar per person to start, the teams must work together and go through the same process as any other entrepreneur.”Getting everyone on the same page is the hardest part,” sophomore entrepreneurship student Jared Alvord said.”Nothing comes easy,” Liang said. “That is the most important lesson.”Community Entrepreneurship is a renovated and extended version of UVM’s original small business program. Liang said the object of this activity is to learn teamwork, business planning, risks, challenges, and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.The teams spend about one month prior to the start of their business to formulate a business plan and request permission from various UVM organizations.Once the business preparation is complete, each team runs their business for three weeks during the semester in a number of different campus locations.At the end of the business activity, each team donates all proceeds to local charities and the Entrepreneurship Scholarship fund that has been established by Liang to assist future students. So far, Dollar Enterprise has generated more than $1,000 and total donations to charities have exceeded $10,000, Liang said.”Students are seeing that $1 goes a long way,” she said.Students are also responsible for completing a business report and financial report, Liang said.”Students do not have experience beyond getting good grades,” Liang said. “Dollar Enterprise offers students the opportunity and experience that they can really apply.”Liang said that she will always run Dollar Enterprise with $1 seed money, but she would like to expand the activity.Since spring 2005, Dollar Enterprise has worked with many Vermont organizations such as Sodexho Campus Dining, Shelburne Orchard, Cheese Trader, City Market of Burlington, Miguel Stowe Away restaurant in Burlington and Klinger Bread. Liang said she is proud to have received the award for United States Small Business Case and International Small Business Case in honor of Dollar Enterprise.