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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


McGuire students sell their ideas on the mall


Courtesy of McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship

The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship holds an annual event to allow the students of the program a chance to unveil their startups. The program accepts around only 80 students each year and allows these students the chance to create business ventures.

The second annual McGuire on the Mall trade fair runs today from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., showcasing 22 teams of students and their business ventures. These seniors are part of the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program and have spent all year learning how to create and market unique business ventures.

“[They are] very varied,” said Jeff Barrows, assistant director of the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship. “They range from food-based … to web applications. There’s a group working with human waste to produce electricity.”

The participating students are a group of 80-90 students who were granted the limited acceptance to the program. While a business-oriented program, it is open to any undergraduate and graduate students.

“It’s a trade-show type of event,” said Patty Sias, program director of the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program. “Students work in teams throughout the year and start literally from scratch.”

Barrows said that the program takes the students from the creation of the idea all the way to meeting with any investors.

According to Barrows, through the program and the trade fair, these teams gain valuable insight into producing and marketing a product to the public and to investors. Despite being an academic exercise, some teams take it to the next level.

“There’s always a contingent who go on to launch their businesses,” Barrows said.

MistoBox, a personalized coffee subscription service, began as a project by McGuire students back in 2011. They successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign and were featured on the show “Shark Tank,” where they were funded by Mark Cuban.

SpeakEsy was a product developed by the PowerPitch group of Master of Business Administration students in the McGuire program. The product is an interactive software tool to teach communications, speaking and business pitching skills.

McGuire has been one of the highest ranked when it comes to college entrepreneurship programs in the U.S.

“Named the ‘crown jewel’ of the University of Arizona by USA Today/The Princeton Review, the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program is a globally recognized program open to UA undergraduate and graduate students from any field of study,” the center’s website says. “Not only are we one of the first university-based entrepreneurship education programs, we are also one of the few to consistently maintain top tier rankings.”

Each team will have a booth to market its product. The teams are judged on things like booth presentation and are competing for awards in different categories. The identities of the judges aren’t revealed to the entrepreneurship students.

As for the competing students, Sias said, “They are very excited. It will be a lot of fun.”


Follow Erik Kolsrud on Twitter.

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