Rapid city

Wright State’s Small Business Development Center forming quick-response teams of students

Earl Gregorich in his office

Earl Gregorich, director of Wright State’s Small Business Development Center, and the Raj Soin College of Business have created a program in which students provide support to small businesses.

Small companies with urgent planning, marketing or management needs will soon be able to turn to rapid-response teams of Wright State University Raj Soin College of Business students for help.

The “InTeams” are designed to be on standby throughout the year and be available for short assignments — 30 to 60 days.

Earl Gregorich, director of Wright State’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and Lance Cauley, director of Career Management, came up with the idea.

Gregorich said small businesses often come to the center and the college in need of specialized assistance such as help developing a business plan or marketing plan or designing a logo. But timing is important.

If the company comes in just before the beginning of a semester, it is relatively easy to assign interested students. But companies often need help in the middle or at the end of semesters, making it more difficult.

“We thought why don’t we add a pool of students based on their disciplines we can pull from as needed throughout the year,” Gregorich said. “The companies are not going to be able to afford a marketing-design firm at $150 an hour, but they can certainly afford a few interns over a 30-to-60-day period.”

InTeams — a play on the words “intern and interim team solutions” — was born.

Once the precise needs of the business are identified, the students best equipped to help would be assigned and be paid an hourly rate by the company. The projects would be managed by Gregorich, Cauley and Kimberly Woodbury, business adviser for SBDC.

One example of how the InTeams concept could be applied is with a company that recently came to the center for help after it decided to dramatically expand its operations and change the concept of its business.

“This is going to be something that the rest of the nation will come to use as a model for this kind of business; I’ve not seen anything like this before,” Gregorich said. “They needed to know whether they are marketing to the correct demographic.”

Wright State could offer the company an InTeam of marketing and finance students.

“We may have some nontraditional students involved with InTeams too — people that have two or three years’ experience in real-world positions and can bring that to the table,” he said.

The College of Business is in the process of recruiting students for the InTeams program, which may be up and running before the end of Spring Semester.

“I’m of the mind that you’ve got to have a solid student with a good work ethic,” said Gregorich. “I don’t necessarily need a brainiac. Sometimes I just need a creative mind.”

He said the benefit for students is “resume-building on steroids.”

“These are actual real-world projects,” he said. “They will have a choice of things to put on their resumes if they participate in this over time.”

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