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Students create sustainable business plans - for real

6:32 PM, Dec 13, 2010   |    comments
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"While it was a good class, I think it really helped me to jump start my real business plan," said Williams, a senior at Regis.

Professors Beth Parish and Randy Lumpp created a new course at Regis entitled: "Justice and the Common Good: Sustainable Enterprise for a Just World." They assigned students just one major project - create your own business with the environment in mind.

"Sustainability, both from the viewpoint of economic sustainability and sustainability of the planet," Lumpp said.

Williams decided he wants to make beer. He created a proposal for CO Brewing, a business that would use biodegradable bottles, solar power, and electric cars. He also wants to attack the obesity issue by creating "nutrient-rich" beer.

"In the fermenting process, put fruits, vegetables into it to help incorporate the nutrients that are naturally there," Williams said. "Incorporating an apple into it [for example], so I'm trying to get the vitamin C and everything that's in the apples."

Lumpp was amazed.

"Health beer," Lumpp said. "It's not something I would have every thought of."

While it is a class project, these plans are for real. The class is made up mostly of business majors and Lumpp says most of these students want to start these ventures after graduation.

"Have them start from scratch and invent not just an idea, an academic exercise, but actually get out there and try to come up with something that would be viable," Lumpp said.

Williams and his classmates did not make their final presentation to the professors. Instead they're being evaluated by a panel of 10 people from industry and nonprofits to give them feedback about how they can really get these businesses off the ground.

"I think these presentations are amazing," said Robert Greenlee, head of a nonprofit called the Greenlee Family Foundation. "They are absolutely realistic. They have done a lot of research about the impact they can have."

Williams says he appreciates the ability to bounce his ideas off the panelists.

"I think it's great, mostly because I can go and talk to them after this and see what they think is feasible about my business and what I need to work on," Williams said.

Other ideas include a business to turn wood from the beetle kill into furniture or building an environmentally-friendly baseball complex.

"I don't think I would have thought of any of the projects that they've come up with," Lumpp said. "They've all been exceptional."

Williams hopes to make his class project a reality within the next five years.

"It gives back to the community," Williams said. "That's the important part to me."

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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