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Bentley University Students Use Business and Art Skills to Help Boost Sales for Nonprofit
“Wicked good” cookies are on the menu for Bentley University students who are finding ways to boost retail sales for Kidz b Kidz, a nonprofit that brings children together to create art to benefit sick children. Things got creative as students designed artwork that was featured on cookies sold by KBK partner Wicked Good Cookies at Bentley’s Black United Fashion Show in early March.
Artwork aside, students in the Integrated Business Project course are developing a business plan for KBK that addresses marketing, operations and finance operations that they will present to company executives.
“Students are cultivating ideas to promote online sales and identify retailers that are a good fit,” says John Shepherd, senior lecturer in economics. “A lot of their focus is on the use of social media and branding.”
They are also helping ensure consistency between the mission statement and actual business model, given KbK’s two-fold strategy to develop empathy in young people and to raise money for children’s disease research.
Forming student teams that include a mix of talent has proven benefits for both learning and business development.
“The collaboration of many majors helps create ideas within group members and helps each student to think outside of their expertise,” says Bentley junior Simone Silvera. “It has been very insightful to work with a group of students with such strong and intelligent ideas. I am an Accounting major, so it is very helpful to have students who study the marketing movements of companies.”
Silvera’s experience with KBK and Wicked good Cookies took on an extended role. As director of the Black United Body's Annual Fashion Show — which features various designers and vendors from all over the Northeast area — she created an anti-bullying theme to raise awareness of events that affect not only students and young people, but people in work environments, at home and at school.
“My goal was to have long-lasting impact over students and people all over Boston,” she observes. “I brought KBK on as a vendor to sell Wicked Good Cookies products not with pictures of empathy, but pictures of love, peace and hope — all signs of anti-bullying.”
Shepherd says he is not surprised by the high level of student engagement. “Millennials have a higher likelihood to both buy cause products and volunteer in cause programs. For some students the project has even sparked an interest in careers in cause marketing and the non-profit sector.”
U.S. News & World Report ranked Bentley No. 2 among regional universities in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, up from No. 3 last year, highlighting Bentley’s high-quality faculty and academic programs along with the strong value that students receive from a Bentley education.