By Sandy Deneau Dunham
PLU Marketing & Communications
TACOMA, Wash. (April 24, 2015)—A team of PLU Marketing students has won the Social Business track of the 2015 Business Plan Competition presented by the Tacoma Entrepreneur Network.
The winning team—Taylor Gonzales, Kevin McKay, Kayla Evans, Lindsey Campbell and Austen Wilson—is mapping a marketing plan for the international microfinance nonprofit EnVia as part of Mark Mulder’s BUSA 468 Marketing Management course. The winning team, Sol, is developing and researching a possible brand extension with consumers; other teams in Mulder’s course are conceptualizing and researching EnVia concepts and brand identities.
“I look for projects where business students can ‘learn by doing,’ allowing them to experience and wrestle with real-world marketing challenges within an organization/company,” Mulder said. “In this case, the impact is that the students’ research, branding and final marketing plan will provide direct support to EnVia.”
EnVia, headquartered in Oaxaca, Mexico, seeks to empower female entrepreneurs through business funding and education.
Oaxaca is one of PLU’s “Gateway” Study Away programs, and PLU students have studied and interned with the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, the nonprofit aligned with EnVia. Mulder originally met with EnVia’s director, Carlos Topete, during a PLU trip to Oaxaca last fall and has been in touch ever since regarding marketing ideas for the women’s products.
And now, said Wang Center for Global Education Executive Director Tamara Williams, a Business student will join the Oaxaca program in Fall 2015 to intern at EnVia and continue the work.
The prize money from the competition, sponsored by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation and the Civic Scholarship Initiative and hosted at the University of Puget Sound, will help EnVia bring retail products, crafted by female artisans and entrepreneurs, to the U.S. retail market.
“As students learn and execute marketing techniques, it’s so wonderful that the outcome of this work will ultimately help women artisans/entrepreneurs build economic independence,” Mulder said. “It is just so PLU.”