Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Capstone Incubates Downtown Business
The HWS Update
Gonzalez Marilla Class 1

Capstone Incubates Downtown Business

Last spring, students in the Entrepreneurial Studies Capstone developed strategies that would help a new Geneva, N.Y. business launch. After several weeks of community-based research, students presented their recommendations at the Bozzuto Center for Entrepreneurship for the environmentally-conscious business venture Waste Not to founder Marilla Gonzalez.

Gonzalez says she has integrated many of their ideas into her business – which opened on Aug. 30. A health food store with bulk purchasing options and sustainably packaged goods, Waste Not is located on Exchange Street in downtown Geneva.

Two sessions of the capstone, taught respectively by Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies Craig Talmage and Visiting Instructor of Entrepreneurial Studies Drury Mackenzie ’03, provided students with the opportunity to apply skills they have learned throughout the Entrepreneurial Studies Program.

Students were tasked with evaluating the viability of the business proposal and developing key growth strategies for the owner in her first year of business.

Craig Tattan ’19, a computer science major and double minor in entrepreneurial and religious studies, was part of a team of students tasked with accounting for financial projections. “We essentially calculated to see if Waste Not could work,” says Tattan, who examined Waste Not’s potential customer base and the cost of owning and operating a location in the city.

Another group provided Gonzalez with profiles of potential customers. Through analysis of local demographics, they determined customers could be environmentalists – ranging from the activist who creates minimal waste, to people who are familiar with wildlife and land management – young people, and community members searching for an authentic customer service experience.

“Working with the HWS students and professors was extremely helpful,” says Gonzalez. “The students and professors helped to paint a clear picture by surveying target customer groups and providing important financial projections along with marketing strategies and much more.”

For Talmage, the collaboration between Geneva business people and students is mutually beneficial. “Across our Entrepreneurial Studies curriculum, we are committed to community-engaged learning,” he says.

Read more about the Waste Not and Entrepreneurial Studies collaboration in the Finger Lakes Times and on Finger Lakes News.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.