Ohio Wesleyan students shared business commercialization plans they created during a Dec. 9 Facebook Live event. The plans will be for U.S. military-patented technologies. (Photo by Allie Hausfeld)

Building Brands

Ohio Wesleyan Students Present Business Commercialization Plans at Dec. 9 Online Event

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – If you’ve ever wanted to sit with the sharks and judge the endeavors of would-be entrepreneurs, here’s your chance to dive in.

Ohio Wesleyan University students in Steve Flaherty’s Business 425 Entrepreneurship class spent a semester creating companies and brands based on patented technologies originally researched and developed by U.S. military-affiliated laboratories.

“The students have put together commercialization business plans and (presented) their strategies for analysis in a competitive manner,” said Flaherty, a part-time OWU business instructor and entrepreneurial adviser at the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at Ohio Wesleyan University.

The class was split into five teams, and all presented their plans during a Facebook Live event from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 9 on the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheDECOWU. A set of judges was identified for the event, but everyone is invited to watch and decide for themselves which team’s work has enough bite to make it shark-worthy.

“While that premise has been done before,” Flaherty said of students creating business plans, “the course structure was the first known use of a 10-week, accelerator-module-based program taught and run at an undergraduate level.

For the course, he said, “students took their ideas through all the foundational pillars necessary for commercialization. Subject matter experts joined the class each week to share tips, tricks, and words of advice as the students built their companies.

“Additionally,” he continued, “this is the first time ever that a university – or any entity – has created commercialization plans based on technologies developed by the military.”

Flaherty was able to get permission for his students to create plans for the patented military technologies through his relationship with TechLink, the military’s technology transfer office.

He is the founder and CEO of necoTech, a private technology company based at OWU’s on-campus entrepreneurial center. The company, which has worked with the military, focuses on eco-friendly solutions to improve the road-paving and paving-repair processes.

Cole Nixon, one of the students in Flaherty’s Business 425 class, said he found the process of creating a commercialization plan to be helpful in planning his future.

“Coming into the class, I had thought about starting my own business in the future, but still was not completely sold on the idea,” said Nixon, a senior business administration major and data analytics minor from Pataskala, Ohio. “I do know that because of this class I for sure want to enter the entrepreneurship world.”

“The biggest eye-opener is the fact that entrepreneurship is a lot of work,” he said candidly. “It is something that is so “sexy” nowadays and what a lot of people want to do so they can be their own boss and make their own schedule not realizing truly how much work you have to put in.”

For the class, Nixon is part of the “Trust Armor” team with students Kamryn Green of Altadena, California, and Gabe Johnson of Naperville, Illinois. Their presentation focused on high-tech military-grade knee and elbow pads designed to help reduce wounds.

Watch a recording of the Dec. 9 event at www.facebook.com/TheDECOWU. Learn more about OWU’s Department of Economics and Business at owu.edu/economics and more about the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at Ohio Wesleyan University at owu.edu/decowu.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more undergraduate majors than many universities its size and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at owu.edu.