The 30-40 students who were hand selected into our program learn to calculate cost and revenue, find capital, and write an effective business plan. Now, they put these skills to the test during this three day business competition.
Prior to beginning their final semester, the students are split up into teams, CEOs are selected and they have the opportunity to “hire” fellow classmates and junior classmates to join the company. Thus, the class is split into five teams that will face head-to-head competition – all for bragging rights! The newly formed company is given a few rules, but essentially their team must sell a product (food or otherwise) on campus for three days and the winning team is the one with the largest bottom line.
The teams work for over two semesters putting together their plans, finding capital, creating marketing strategies and investigating the competition! Students get out into the business community to find “angels” who will invest in their Wolffest team and seek alumni to become their Board of Advisors. It’s a tremendous learning experience for everyone involved.
Finally, the day has arrived and the company must begin operations. From past experience, we’ve learned some teams will not be prepared – their grills will not work, their sponsors may back out at the last minute, they will not have enough food, or their facilities will not pass the health and safety inspection – much like “real” businesses.
Wolffest is a great opportunity for our students to understand the difference between planning for a business and operating a business. As with most entrepreneurs, they are constantly forced to innovate and add new components to an existing model.