SGA establishes board to support student businesses

By Elizabeth Kane

(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)
(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

There are seven student businesses on campus, and there are some people on campus that feel there should be more, with an easier way to establish and support them.

Recently created as a subsidiary governing body of the Student Government Association, the Student Business Investment Board aims to advocate for and help secure funding of current and prospective student businesses.

The board was unanimously voted into the senate’s bylaws on April 6. Recently appointed Chairman of Finance Michael Turner initially developed the board last fall with input from representatives of the Center for Student Business and the Board of Student Businesses. The creation of the board, according to Turner, resulted from their attempts to put new businesses in the Hatch, and the difficulties that arose during this process

“(In our attempts to use the Hatch), we discovered just how difficult it was to start a new student business,” Turner said. “There was no funding, no space and not even an application. While it was prohibitively expensive to put new businesses in the Hatch due to regulatory concerns, it ignited the idea of the SBIB.”

According to Turner, the SBIB intends to primarily address these issues with new student businesses by granting them start­up loans and helping with space allocations. The board also plans to aid existing student businesses by supporting the formation of symbiotic relations. These goals, Turner stated, will meet the needs of both current and prospective student businesses.

“(The board will give) excellent service to the startups and provide auxiliary sources of income and the potential for new relationships,” Turner said. “This meeting of interests allows new student businesses to learn key skills (and) enriches our current student businesses, allowing them to supplement their co­managers, and help integrate into the overall community.”

To achieve their goals, the board is trying to securing funding over the summer from the SGA and outside donors. Turner said the board’s goal is to to raise $64,000 in funds by the fall semester.

“With the target seed funding, we would be able to start eight new student businesses over the next year,” Turner said. “Interest free returns from this target will provide funding for a new student business each and every semester afterwards. The indefinite 5 percent of revenue directed into the fund will mitigate issues with risk and will make the fund self-sustaining and self expanding – without any need for additional funds.”

In addition to collecting funds, SGA representatives will also educate New Student Orientation attendees over the summer about the board and its mission. Turner hopes that informing the community about the Board will increase funding as well as expand the amount of student businesses on campus.

“I hope that (the board) will ignite a renaissance of new student businesses across this campus,” Turner said. “With increased funding, the opportunities for opening new spaces across campus will be magnified; renting space on and off campus will become viable; and placing loans for food trucks would make more options. The board will be a catalyst for the entrepreneurial spirit on campus that will develop new student businesses wherever they can take root.”

Elizabeth Kane can be reached at [email protected]