Seniors from the business department delivered the first set of Capstone presentations in the Koinonia Room at College Mennonite Church on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The students presented to a group of board members and the nonprofit organizations they worked with throughout the semester.
In groups of three, business majors presented to the owners of these nonprofits to give suggestions as to what the organization could improve on in terms of marketing, business strategies and how to better connect to their consumer bases.
This was the 10th anniversary of these capstone projects, and with word spreading about these projects occurring every fall, businesses were eager to have Goshen College students work with them. The businesses that were presented to on Tuesday reached out to Goshen’s business department in hopes of working alongside students.
Though a majority of the businesses were local to the Goshen area, several were also made through Jerrell Ross Richer’s personal connections.
“I met Todd Wynward last November when he was on a book tour, and last summer while I was visiting him in Taos, we talked about having students do a project with him,” said Richer, professor of economics. “I met Randy and Felipe Borman last year, and we discussed how students might help them find ways to market their ecotourism program in Ecuador.”
Three of the five groups presented on Tuesday, with the remaining two groups presenting on Thursday. The groups presented to nonprofit businesses such as Chain Reaction Bike Shop, AMBS Co-op Bookstore and rCredits, an electronic currency company. All of these businesses are local.
Nicole Keenan, Ryan Smith and Mitch Denlinger, all seniors, presented their findings to Kathy Nafziger Yeakey, the executive director of Chain Reaction, Tyler Klassen, the shop manager, and Les Gustafson-Zook, a member of the Chain Reaction board.
They looked at a range of practices that went into the affordable bike shop, including how they can alter their sales tax policies to comply with tax regulations and render them exempt from fines.
Eric Cender, Nathan Yoder, and Jae Lee, all seniors, presented their findings to community partners Malinda Berry and Seth Martin, who run the AMBS Co-op Bookstore. This group focused on the bookstore’s membership practices and how they could most efficiently offer member discounts while retaining a consumer base.They also offered a series of name suggestions, such as “The Book Nook” and “Textual Healing” to allow for more consumer recognition of their shop.
Nathan Orr, a senior, worked at rCredits this semester.
“Working with rCredits was an amazing but difficult experience,” said Orr. “It brought my team members and I out of our comfort zones. Goshen College’s Business Capstone class and our community projects are perfect ways to use everything that we’ve learned here at GC outside of internships.”
The remaining presentations will occur Thursday, Dec. 8. Presenters will be Pranabh Basnett, Preston Carr and Courtney Featherstone on the Taos TILT Year of Service and Formation Program.
Other presenters will be Jessica Cagigas and Calvin Mangunda, who will report on Cofan Learning and Fellowship Tours. The presentations will take place through video conference calls, as these organizations aren’t local.
TILT is a gap year of service in the town of Taos, New Mexico, and Cofan Tours is a program for ecotourism in Ecuador. For those interested in learning more about the programs or have any general questions, you can contact Richer.