Lakeland University Blog

Entrepreneurial teams from UW Green Bay and Lakeland meet

Entrepreneurial teams from UW Green Bay and Lakeland meet


Entrepreneurial teams from UW Green Bay and Lakeland meet

Leaders from Launch: Lakeland Student-Run Businesses and the University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s Student-Run Businesses Organization (SRBO) met in late March at Lakeland to share business strategies.

Launch and UWGB’s SRBO are the only student-run business organizations in Wisconsin. Both are among the 23 members of the national Student-Run Businesses Association.

The stories of both Launch and UWGB’s SRBO began back in 2020. When much of the world was weighed down by the COVID-19 shutdown, innovative leaders from two universities on Wisconsin’s east side were focused on something else: creating start-up opportunities for entrepreneurial students. Despite social distancing and other COVID precautions, Launch’s founding team designed a successful business plan.

As UWGB worked through details of starting their own SRBO, Launch served as a mentor. Kym Leibham, Launch’s staff mentor, shared Lakeland’s student-run business blueprint, including the Launch budget, the campus shop business plan and other resources. Based on Launch’s experience, Leibham answered UWGB’s questions and shared best practices.

As a smaller, private university, Lakeland has opportunities for experimentation that a larger school might lack. Because of this, Launch’s entrepreneurial spirit thrived, and the founding team designed a business plan that now features five ventures: Musko’s Campus Shop, Elementastic, the Event Planning Division, the Nonprofit Collaborative Grant, and Lakeland Content Writers.

Unlike Launch, which is a Lakeland-owned venture, SRBO functions as a student organization. The UWGB students currently run one business, a gift shop through the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. The gift shop features pieces made by local artists, along with UWGB attire.

Although the gift shop’s merchandise differs from Musko’s Campus Shop, which offers almost exclusively Lakeland-branded products, UWGB students took home several key lessons from the campus shop’s successes.

Aubrey Pinkerton, the president of UWGB SRBO, noted some marketing opportunities for the gift shop after hearing strategies from Lizzy Hockenhull, the campus shop’s social media manager.

“I was very inspired by the ways Launch uses social media to promote products,” Pinkerton shared. “It certainly makes me want to reevaluate our marketing priorities and take some time to dive into a solid social media plan going forward.”

The UWGB students expressed a common theme of the culture they hope to create in their SRBO. Marissa Williams, the vice president of UWGB’s SRBO, said, “The most important thing with running a start-up business is commitment.”

Macy DiPietro, the SRBO’s chief financial officer, agreed. “I think the next few months will be tough for us,” DiPietro said. “Lots of hard work needs to be put in, but the best things don't come easy.”

DiPietro expressed another take-away from the event – recognizing the collaborative effort needed to back a venture like Launch. “I left feeling inspired by the creation of Launch and all of your achievements,” DiPietro said. “Sitting down with the Launch team made me realize how important teamwork is and what it truly means to have a strong team.”

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