By Brenda Alling, WSU Vancouver

business-mentor-logoVANCOUVER, Wash. – Student consultants have helped area businesses realize at least $4.6 million in new revenues in the five years since Washington State University started a team consultant program. A recent anniversary celebration recognized businesses, volunteers and students in the program.

Created in 2010 by the WSU Carson College of Business, the Business Growth Mentor and Analysis Program is a pro-bono student-led consultancy. Student teams of four or five help with needs that businesses identify, including startup, growth, marketing and accounting.

Students benefit from the practical experience. WSU Vancouver 2014 alumnus Steven Kinlock said the program was the difference between reading the driver’s manual and driving the car. He works as a business systems analyst for Intel Corp.

Business clients sought for fall

Volunteer mentors from the business community meet with student teams weekly during the semester-long projects to offer advice and feedback. Faculty members from the college oversee each project.

hydraulics
Hydraulics, Inc. consultants and mentors.

The program has grown from eight projects in the first year to 56 this year, said Mistie Josephson, program manager. Since the program’s inception, participating companies grew $5.4 million in new revenues and created 36 full-time jobs, of which $4.6 million of new revenues and 15 full-time jobs are directly attributable to student team projects.

Businesses that would like to apply for Business Growth MAP services may call 360-546-9533, email bgmap@vancouver.wsu.edu or visit http://business.vancouver.wsu.edu/bgmap. New projects begin in late August.

Teams earn awards

This year three student teams were recognized for outstanding work:

Outstanding Growth Assessment Projects
* Hydraulics, Inc.: Kelly Hobson, 2014, management and operations; Craig Parsons, 2014, marketing; Julie Parsons, 2015, accounting; Samnang Touch, 2014, management information systems.

Maids-by-Trade
Maids By Trade consultant team and mentors.

Hydraulics, Inc. is a Vancouver-based, family business that distributes Eaton Aeroquip hydraulic and pneumatic industrial hoses, fittings, accessories and specialty equipment. The student team did analysis on ways to grow the business and created compelling recommendations totaling a return on investment of more than $640,000.

* Maids by Trade: Chris Caesar, 2015, accounting; Jack Quilici, 2014, management and operations.

Maids by Trade is a Portland, Ore.-based residential cleaning service that uses green products. The student team’s recommendations provided creative solutions that can be implemented quickly totaling more than $100,000 in return on investment.

marketing
Oasis Diagnostics, outstanding marketing.

Outstanding Marketing Project
* Oasis Diagnostics: Nicci Johnson, 2015, business administration; Nick Scholz, 2015, business administration; Jana Scott, 2015, marketing; Kevin Simmons, 2014, marketing; Nina Wooten, 2014, marketing.

Oasis Diagnostics is a developer and manufacturer of non-invasive tools for diagnosing diseases using saliva. The student team did marketing research for a potential new medical device in a complex industry. The team created a plan including medical research and cost documentation.