Students Form Short-Term Business to Benefit Scholarship Fund

Published 12.16.2016

Student News
Business, Arts & Sciences
Business & Hospitality

Pennsylvania College of Technology students took course learning in the Business Planning and Operations class far beyond the textbook, forming a retail operation that raised money for a student scholarship fund.

Coining their company Comfy & Sweet, the students devised a plan to sell blankets and handmade candy at two on-campus locations. To help entice their target audience, the blankets were adorned with the college’s Wildcat logo, and the candy featured paw prints. The students exceeded their expectations, quickly selling their initial stock of blankets and running out of a second order before their two-week planned sales period expired.

In total, Comfy & Sweet sold 275 bags of candy and an equal number of blankets, raising $1,782 for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is awarded each fall to a student who is pursuing a minor in small business management and entrepreneurship and has taken the Small Business Management class.

Penn College’s Wildcat mascot stops by a sales table for Comfy & Sweet, a retail operation set up by students in the college’s Business Planning and Operations class to raise money for a student scholarship fund. With the Wildcat is Michael D. Seitzer, of Williamsport, a student in business administration: management concentration.The students brainstormed close to 100 ideas before selecting five they felt would work best.

“Once we got our five ideas, we broke up into groups and did market research on the ideas,” said Kayla B. Schneider, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration: marketing concentration. “Next, our groups used the decision-making process to see what ideas would be best considering the time, our target market and the demand.”

Bringing Comfy & Sweet to fruition was no easy task: Each of the fledgling company’s departments wrote a section of a business plan that demonstrated, by the numbers, that Comfy & Sweet would be successful and that the students were ready to sell.

“We presented our business plan to our professor (Mark A. Ciavarella, assistant professor of business administration/management), the dean and assistant dean of the School of Business & Hospitality, and another business professor so we could get approved for funding,” said Schneider, of Williamsport. “Once approved, orders were placed, our Facebook page was up and running, and fliers were ordered and printed.”

Each of the 28 students was “hired” in one of five departments: financial/accounting, led by Richard C. Brown, of Williamsport; human resources, headed by Christopher Kopyscianski, of Milton; information systems, run by Sean M. Hunter, of Livingston, New Jersey; marketing, headed by Michael D. Seitzer, of Williamsport; and operations, led by Iris E. DiPasquale, of Nescopeck. Brown, DiPasquale, Kopyscianski and Seitzer are pursing degrees in business administration: management concentration. Hunter, who received an associate degree in automotive restoration technology in 2015, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied management.

“In the beginning, we did not run in sync like we do now, but in the beginning, we did not know how each person worked and how to communicate with each other; that was an obstacle at first, and we overcame it,” said Schneider, an “employee” in the Comfy & Sweet marketing department.

“We have all learned from this process,” she said, noting lessons that will translate to the working world. “We will ask questions so we can understand and learn more instead of just sitting back and hoping someone else will ask. We will communicate with our co-workers so we are all on the same page and feel more like a team. We will set goals to keep ourselves on track so we don’t fall behind with our work. You can never be perfect when it comes to work; there is always room to grow.”

To learn more about business majors at Penn College, call 570-327-4505.

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