BBC Startup Studio

Fisher organization provides young entrepreneurs skills to create change

April 2020

story: sean finerty   design: lauren marshall  

As Ohio State’s key entrepreneurship club on campus, Business Builders Club (BBC) “has a wealth of resources that helps students get connected, educated and inspired in the entrepreneurship community both on campus and in Columbus,” said President Jack Hutchinson, a third year marketing major.

The origin of BBC Startup Studio

 

This past year, club leaders have taken a holistic view of the organization to respond to the needs of their membership, with many desiring a new taste of entrepreneurship. This inspired them to roll out a new pilot program within the BBC membership: Startup Studio. 

Startup Studio is a monthly workshop series in which a small group of BBC members can learn the step-by-step process of building a business, guided by industry leaders. VP of Startup Studio, Luke Peddemors spearheaded the program over its inaugural year, leading its monthly meetings.

"Startup Studio is meant to get [members] thinking about what they’ll build in the future, how they can conceptualize that and eventually take certain steps towards creating a viable product or idea.  

 

What is BBC Startup Studio

“Startup Studio is meant to get [members] thinking about what they’ll build in the future, how they can conceptualize that and eventually take certain steps towards creating a viable product or idea,” said Peddemors. 

He emphasized the hands-on nature of the process for long-time members. 

While the club has always offered numerous educational opportunities to obtain knowledge of entrepreneurship through its speaker series, networking and other events, a recurring goal was to move towards members initiating entrepreneurship themselves. 

“That’s where Startup Studio filled the gap,” said Peddemors. 

The series acts as a total involvement with entrepreneurship, intended to serve as a platform for those looking to learn skills and take their ideas to the next step. He understands that many student entrepreneurs aren’t naive about the difficulty of starting a business, but can benefit from learning the right steps. 

The series focuses on a different theme each month, with the first month centered on marketing. The trajectory of the series begins with high-level broad concepts, but later segues into a deeper dive of specific skills. BBC intentionally designed it this way, so members can develop their own ideas over the startup studio process. The hands-on nature of the project works both as an educational experience for beginners as well as a way for members to apply specific topics precisely to their own ideas. 

For example, the series’ most recent topic was on product. Thus, they had members talk to professionals in product management, including people in data, computer science and product/app design.

The success of the program

 

The series has targeted a smaller, more selective group so that it functions more collaboratively on a conversational level. The meetings are similar to a classroom setting but not as structured, mixing in presentation with question and answer (Q&A), a format that has been well-received. Members will often talk with guest speakers and industry professionals during and after the meeting and receive an opportunity to work through their startup ideas as it pertains to the meeting’s topic. Many will even follow up with them beyond meetings. 

“The biggest benefit we’ve seen so far is people who don’t know specific topics like search engine optimization (SEO), product or working with designers… they can come through Startup Studio’s doors and really get that good idea and get some sort of output for what they want to do in the future,” said Peddemors.

In general, their goal was to test the waters within the membership towards more hands-on educational workshops. Thus far, this pilot program has seen positive feedback and attention within the club. Still, Peddemors sees room for improvements moving forward. He would like to see it become more of an incubator experience with members coming in with a specific idea, and with each meeting have them work toward that specific prospect. He also would like to see development to the point where members can interact with speakers specifically on their own ideas for extended periods of time. The program fully intends to be launched into next school year, exploring these new possibilities.

“It was a shot in the dark for us,” said Hutchinson. “We were trying to see if we could align member needs with a new program [...]. Overall, it was a tremendous success.” 

He encourages new membership for next semester, emphasizing that anyone can join, even those not looking to build a business.

“It’s a fantastic community of people, everyone is very ambitious and talented, but also very welcoming and warm… there’s always an opportunity to learn and be vulnerable in a safe environment,” said Hutchinson.

For more information on the Business Builders Club and Startup Studio, visit businessbuildersclub.org.