As part of a class project, 45 students from Entrepreneur Marketing (Social Science 189) likely shattered a UCI record when they were challenged to encourage donors to bring canned foods to the Blackstone LaunchPad on campus during a one week period in May. The students were required to use guerilla marketing techniques to gather donations and have donors bring them into the center. In a mere week, forty-five students convinced 3,000 donors to bring in over 7200 cans – very likely the largest canned food drive in UCI history.

The inaugural entrepreneur marketing class, part of the new Certificate in Entrepreneurship in the School of Social Sciences (http://www.ssarc.socsci.uci.edu/programs/entrepreneurship.php),  is designed to assist students in learning the techniques necessary for early stage companies to enter their markets with limited resources.

“The students should be very proud of the results of the efforts,” said David Ochi, instructor for the class and Executive Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at UC Irvine. “The students worked incredibly hard in getting, one-by-one, over 3,000 donor visits in a single week. I heard from several students about the soft skills they learned including handling rejection, getting creative with approaching donors, and building incentives for people to give of themselves for the benefit of others. These are valuable skills that are rarely taught in the traditional classroom, but vital in entrepreneurship and real life.”

“What these students have done is nothing short of amazing,” stated Lori Mazan, board member of South County Outreach (http://www.sco-oc.org/), a local non-profit food pantry that facilitated the program and will distribute the food throughout the community. “Their efforts have helped the lives of hundreds of people in Orange County who are struggling to find food to eat tonight. Not only have you learned for a class, you’ve truly benefited the lives of people.”

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