Lakeland University News

Lakeland launches student-run business enterprise

Lakeland launches student-run business enterprise


Lakeland launches student-run business enterprise

Lakeland University is launching a new and innovative experiential learning opportunity that will better position students for post-graduation employment.

Lakeland’s new student-run business enterprise will allow students to create, develop, manage and lead business ventures while developing the next generation of emerging leaders.

Students will be hired this spring into executive roles that will shape the student-run enterprise moving forward. Positions include chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, chief talent officer and president of the Develop U division.

“This new venture will put students in positions to make real-world business decisions, lead teams of their peers and be responsible for all aspects of the businesses from financial success to marketing strategies,” said Scott Niederjohn, Lakeland’s senior vice president for cooperative education and economic development. “These powerful experiences will provide students with an opportunity to develop an entrepreneurial mindset that is applicable in any field of study.”

Initially the program will create four divisions:

  • The Non-Profit Division will provide local non-profit agencies with temporary and/or long-term staff at little to no cost. The goal is to increase the effectiveness of local non-profit organizations by providing students to fill administrative and professional roles or customized projects or events.
  • The Hospitality Division will run existing campus businesses such as Lakeland’s The Daily Grind (coffee shop), The Muskie Mart (grocery and convenience store), athletic department concessions and facility rental and event planning (internal and external).
  • The Merchandising Division will provide goods to elevate the Lakeland brand through the design and production of targeted consumer goods.
  • Develop U Division will provide customized professional growth opportunities and continued training to improve useful skills and enhance competencies for internal and external constituents.

These paid positions are open to undergraduate students in any academic major. The positions will start this summer.

“This first group of student executives will make important decisions that will shape this enterprise for future growth,” Niederjohn said. “It will be an amazing opportunity to students to learn how to strategize and innovate for long-term success.”

Lakeland is modeling its program after colleges with successful and proven student-run businesses. The university is creating a Board of Directors that will be filled with local business leaders to help guide the students in their work. The board will work directly with the student executives, overseeing high-level direction, policy and strategy of the student-run business ventures.