|Multicultural Consulting Course|
|In Partnership with University of Washington Bothell - Business Economic Center|
The business selection process identifies businesses that can benefit from working with student consulting teams. Over the years, the college has nurtured a network of referral sources that ensure it reaches the full range of (includes minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned or businesses in economically distressed areas) businesses. In order for the business to benefit from the student engagement, it must be of a certain size and maturity. Businesses which are primarily home-based businesses or which provide self-employment only are not likely to benefit from a team of students who will devote about 400 man hours to completing a project. Businesses which are just beginning probably don't have the resources to devote to providing information to students. Businesses must commit to weekly meetings with the student teams over the eleven week engagement which coincides with the college academic quarter.
As a general guideline, the BEC looks for businesses that have been in operation for a minimum of one year or have at least three employees. Business owners must initiate the engagement. They must show a commitment to make the best use of resources and give indication that they are willing to change the way the business operates to take it to the next step.
Businesses will work with a team that consists of five or six students plus a Rotary mentor. All members of the team are committed to assisting the business achieve its goals. The student team along with its advisors works with the business for an eleven-week period. On average these mentors spend 40 to 60 hours working with their student teams.
Businesses selected for the program must commit to working with the students and mentors. They must meet with the student team, provide information, and be an active member of the team in coming up with viable solutions. Often this requires the provision of information confidential to the business to achieve these goals.
Why would a business apply to be in the program?
Mentorrs are matched to the businesses based on their area of expertise. All these mentors provide their services which may bill from $100 to $200 per hour free of charge. The faculty work with the businesses to identify areas for potential growth or improvement. Each business is assigned a team of four or five students. Students can log 200 to 600 man hours in working on these projects. After the students complete their project, the advisor will continue to work with the business to implement the recommendations.
How is a business selected?
The business owner will be asked questions about marketing, operations, personnel, and finance. Financial statements will be reviewed. All marketing and financial information is kept confidential although it may be discussed within the class and among the mentors and faculty of the program. Businesses are chosen on the basis on suitability for work with student teams. The main objective of the engagement is that students learn.
What type of business would benefit from being in the program?
First ask if you are open to change. Often businesses hit barriers because they're used to one mode of operating. The program might take a business through some soul searching as to whether it's willing and able to take it to the next level. If you're not ready, it makes little sense to go through the process. Then you have to ask whether you're set on where you're going as a business. Businesses which have been in existence for less than one year might not have worked all this out as yet and won't be ready for the services and support that the program can provide.
You need to have specific goals in mind. As great a program as it is, it won't (and shouldn't) tell you what you want to be as a business. Next ask if you have the time and resources to deal with all the advisors and the student team. You'll have to take significant chunks of time away from the day-to-day minding of your business to work on all the long-term action items that will come out of the process. The process also calls for weekly meetings with the student teams. Do you and the key people in your business have the time? You'll have to provide information to complete the work. For every hour of meetings, there's several hours of reviewing and follow-up. You'll have to think through all the options and select the ones that make sense to you. Most importantly the business owner needs to commit the hard work of learning, making changes happen, and making the changes stick.
Give me an idea of how much time this involves.
Business Owner Testimonials
For more business testimonials check out Projects tab on left navigation.
This webpage is created to assist in teaching students of Leslie Lum. It does not reflect the opinions or the position of Bellevue Community College.
Last updated 12/1/12