Boise State on Business

Betti Newburn: College centers can connect students with businesses

BETTI NEWBURN, Region III director at Idaho Small Business Development Center at Boise State UniversityOctober 8, 2013 

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Betti Newburn

What does college starting mean to our communities? Increased retail spending? Resumed sports? Well, to some businesses it means they have a pool of additional resources available to help address issues they face on many fronts. Small Business Development Centers are located on college and university campuses statewide. Their locations have purpose. They can help match businesses and organizations with course projects that not only help the business but also help transition students from academia to real world experiences.


Teams of four to six senior level students are available for:

• Marketing plans

• Human resource management policies

• Export opportunities and strategies

• Engineering design and business modeling for new products

• Strategic planning

• Entrepreneurial assessments.


Companies may provide some basic information and await a report based on student research of their competitors and the industry, or they may collaborate with students during the process for more specific problems they are facing. The choice is up to the company. At the beginning, an SBDC representative meets with all parties to establish scope, objectives, boundaries and outcomes.

Especially interesting projects have been conducted by students from the International Trade Institute from Taipei, Taiwan, and a team of MBA students in Heidelberg, Germany. The Small Business Development Center participates with the students either locally or remotely to provide an eight-week module connecting students to companies in the Treasure Valley. The students from Taiwan stay with local families and work within the companies while they are here. The German students provide “boots on the ground” in Germany for local companies working to break into the European marketplace.

The subjects of business issues can be seen spanning the globe as part of Idaho’s international initiatives.


Upon completion of any project, the teams or individuals deliver recommendations to the company in the form of a report and/or presentation. Care is taken to prevent disclosure of confidential information by the company and financial information is not necessary, if not already in the public domain. Nondisclosure and noncompete agreements are signed.


Students provided with the opportunity to work with local companies will be better prepared for situations in the workforce, and during the process companies gain perspectives from students, professors and counselors to which they might otherwise not have been exposed. The connection is a real win-win.

Businesses interested in getting involved may contact the Small Business Development Center.

The Idaho SBDCs are administered by their respective colleges and universities.

They are funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the state of Idaho and host campuses. Services are free, but some college services may charge fees to cover materials and equipment.

Take advantage of your local college-community connection.


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