This semester, entrepreneurship and graphic design students teamed up to help local startups and small businesses with real-life challenges.
The project—part of the Entrepreneurship Capstone course and the Graphic Design course—was designed to give students hands-on experience working with clients. And just like in the real world, the students worked collaboratively in teams.
“Today, good business and design strategy must work in unison. This unique collaboration replicated the working dynamics of any business entity. And it gave students insight into how business vs. creative professionals approach challenges differently,” said Graphic Design Senior Lecturer Peter Bianco, who taught the class along with Professor and Director of Entrepreneurship Programs George Moker.
Working out of the E-Clinic at Suffolk’s Center for Entrepreneurship, the students helped several businesses, including the East Boston Museum, One Gig, World Wide Beauty Exchange, Roman Music Therapy Services, Country, Lista, Ugly Baby Soap Company, Raising Harmony, Environment and Health Group, Cap/Sure, LaunchSource, Veronica Robles Cultural Center, and POST. Their projects ranged from product development, marketing, and social media strategy to website design and rebranding. Clients that required visual elements worked with both entrepreneurship and graphic design students.
Senior Muhammad Kalthoum’s team worked with the East Boston Museum. The business students in his group developed a marketing and social media strategy, while the graphic design students developed brand guidelines, a stationery suite, and a website template.
“It was a challenging, yet rewarding experience,” Kalthoum said. “Professor Moker treats us like professionals instead of students. The expectations are high, but the experience is preparing us for what’s to come after graduation.”
Throughout the semester, the students met with their clients to report on their progress and receive feedback. Some groups, like the East Boston Museum team, even visited their clients off campus.
“This is really different from your ordinary class. You have to listen to your client, figure out what they want, and define your deliverables. It’s a great lesson in learning how to communicate and create something tangible out of ideas,” said BSBA student Wasel Othman.
BSBA student Santiago Torres Torija, who wants to start his own business one day, said it was the perfect way to end senior his year. “This is the ideal transition from student life to the real world, especially with graduation coming up. We learned about work ethic, time management, and so much more.”
At the end of the semester, the students presented their recommendations to the clients. “It’s an amazing feeling to know that our proposals could have a real impact on these businesses,” said BSBA student Christopher Faria. His group worked with World Wide Beauty Exchange to redesign the company’s website and develop a Kickstarter campaign to raise $35,000. So far, the company has already implemented several of their recommendations, and it plans to launch the Kickstarter campaign in June.
“I absolutely recommend this course to other students. This is a required course for entrepreneurship majors but, it is pretty stellar and should serve as a model for other courses with similar deliverables and client relationships,” said Faria.