Grand Canyon University will open its Small Business Consulting Center this fall as a free resource for students, alumni and community businesses. It differentiates itself from other business consulting centers — incubators and accelerators — by using the resources of GCU’s faculty and students as well as drawing on the expertise of Phoenix’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with guest speakers from organizations that include SEED Spot, Local First Arizona and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, explains Eduardo Borquez, the center’s manager.
Although part of GCU’s Colangelo College of Business, the center seeks to serve all students who have an entrepreneurial spirit — not just those with a business major. It could help a student in the Nursing Practitioner program, for instance, learn the business side so as to be able to open an independent business, Borquez explains. And it specifically welcomes local businesses, says Borquez, who developed the program in Spanish as well as English. Those who complete the program receive a Certificate of Achievement that “helps their resume and helps them get funding” so they can go back to their business and “hire local and make an economic change.” Borquez relates that, of the local businesses that participated in the recently completed beta test of the curriculum, 80 percent had never been on a college campus. “It was rewarding for us to give them the formal training to start their training or grow their business,” he says.
Program content focuses on the “business model canvas,” Borquez says, but notes it will be tailored to the need of each of the different tracks — undergraduate students, graduate students and alumni, and community. And through his active involvement in the community, he says, “I will get to know these local business owners and their needs, so I can better partner students with them to help with real-world application” of the business topic. “It’s a win-win-win for the students, the business community and the college.”
“We wanted to make a difference for the West Valley, and get students and faculty involved — and, while helping businesses, help students with a real-world application,” says Randy Gibb, Ph.D., dean of the Colangelo College of Business, observing the center will fulfill the need to help students follow through on entrepreneurial ideas. Actively involved with the Arizona chapter of Conscious Capitalism, he developed the center with the ideals of conscious capitalism and “servant leadership” — encouraging participants to see that the leadership of an organization needs to take care of all stakeholders, including employees, and have a higher purpose as well as a profit goal.