WWU business college and NW Innovation Resource Center connect students, entrepreneurs

The Northwest Innovation Resource Center has partnered with Western Washington University’s College of Business and Economics to help business students gain experience by working with local entrepreneurs.

Through the collaborative effort, students will analyze start-up businesses in the early stages of development in order to create feasibility analyses.

“Working directly with entrepreneurs and the market provides students with the unique opportunity to apply multiple aspects of their coursework in a meaningful way,” Craig Dunn, associate dean for graduate programs at WWU, said in a March 12 press release.

Students enrolled in the MBA environmental management course will assess the impacts of corporate action on the natural environment along with participating companies engaged in the NWIRC’s Accelerator Program, which provides support to local entrepreneurs.

Participating companies’ products include an invention specialized for the raspberry-growing industry and a proposal to develop better uses for plastics collected from recycling.

“As a mentor for the NWIRC, being able to tap the expertise that these students are gaining in the classroom to provide insight and assistance to local entrepreneurs is hugely beneficial,” Steve Barrett, NWIRC Mentor and WWU MBA alum, said. “Entrepreneurs are often pressed for time, as well as focused on innovation itself; consequently, work like this often falls by the wayside, so the students really have an opportunity to help with their efforts.”

The NWIRC is a nonprofit organization providing economic opportunities and jobs
through innovation in Whatcom County. It is online at www.nwirc.com.

WWU’s MBA Program has been offering graduate business education to students for 30 years. The program offers a part-time evening track, part-time weekend track, traditional two-year track and an accelerated one-year track.

The Aspen Institute has ranked the program among its top 100 MBA programs in the world, and number one in Washington state.

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