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A winning formula

March 17, 2016

Management Professor Lynn Hoffman is the force behind a partnership with Denver
Management Professor Lynn Hoffman is the force behind a partnership with Denver's Mi Casa Resource Center that matches students with local entrepreneurs. PHOTO: Tim Carroll

Management Professor Lynn Hoffman has found a winning formula for his students and local entrepreneurs supported by Mi Casa Resource Center, a Denver non-profit dedicated to providing business resources and education to Latinos and working families.

To build on mutual goals, MSU Denver formed a partnership with Mi Casa three years ago that matched students from a College of Business course in organizational and management consulting with entrepreneurs who recently completed a 13-week business planning course.

MSU Denver faculty had previously taught the 13-week course at Mi Casa and identified a continuing need of small business owners who wanted ongoing counsel during the next phase of their business planning. This is when Mi Casa turned to MSU Denver for support.

“Having our small businesses involved with students and meeting with them weekly throughout the semester increased the likelihood that they will implement the recommendations,” said Elena Vasconez, Mi Casa's director of business development programs. “Business owners perform competitive research, marketing and execute recommendations with support from students.”

More than 20 Mi Casa clients have accessed free business consulting and technical assistance, and gained an objective understanding of their business and industry. Students in the consulting course – who are majoring in accounting, management and marketing – are divided into cross-functional teams based on client needs.

A research paper developed by MSU Denver management students recently received a third place award nationally from the Small Business Institute in its Project of the Year competition. The paper, developed by recent alumni Sarah Gamble, Chase Scheu and Rachel Webb, competed with more then 200 papers submitted by faculty from institutions across the country.

“I’m proud that the quality of our students' work and the depth of their research is being recognized at the national level,” said Hoffman, who has taught the consulting course at MSU Denver for more than 30 years. “This consulting course provides students the opportunity to really apply what they have learned in the classroom and recommend what a client really needs.”

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