Terry’s “Team 14h30” entrepreneurship program has an intriguing name derived from the fact that the weekly brainstorming session takes place at 2:30 in the afternoon. It also has a meaningful slogan: “Creating opportunities one Dawg at a time.”
To program founder and Terry Entrepreneur-in-Residence Mark “Dill” Driscoll, that slogan should ideally translate into every program participant being employed upon graduation.
When he agreed to become an Entrepreneur–in–Residence in 2009, Driscoll set his sights on offering UGA students the kind of mentoring, coupled with hands–on work–place experiences, that are the pre–requisites to success in the business world. A renowned “experiential marketer” responsible for events such as Live Earth and the Olympic Torch Relay, Driscoll opens up his Rolodex to give Terry students a more directed head start in the employment game.
“It took me 30 seconds to realize that there’s nothing really out there helping kids,” says Driscoll, a marketing pioneer who founded several of the industry’s breakthrough companies such as World Sports Promotions, McCann Event Marketing, and Momentum Worldwide.
Team 14h30 gives students the opportunity to work on real–world business challenges with participating companies that Driscoll recruits as Team 14h30 partners. As many as 70 students are active in the program at any one time, and student projects include marketing for professional car racing teams and for start–ups that have the potential to make it in the marketplace. One student team is currently advising an Athens Kangaroo Express convenience store on Lumpkin Street—and doing such a good job that team members have drawn both kudos and job offers from corporate parent The Pantry. Driscoll calls the Kangaroo Express project “a real, live, small business incubator experiment going on right down the street that the Harvard Business School would be envious of.”
“When I first came into the business school, I thought it was all about making a profit and gaining market share,” says Matthew Marshall. “When I joined Team 14h30, I learned that people are motivated by different things. I learned that Dill is motivated by making a positive influence on people’s lives.”
Marshall and teammate Dakota Herrera (BBA ‘09) are working on a marketing project for ooVoo, a New York–based business tool that gives organizations of all sizes an easy and affordable solution for video conferencing, desktop sharing and other communication capabilities—right from their employees’ personal computers.
ooVoo Vice President of Finance & Operations Frank Miele says the partnership with Team 14h30 is mutually beneficial because “ooVoo has been very interested in reaching the college population for some time now.” With more than 21 million users worldwide, ooVoo is offering the normally subscription–based service for free to UGA students. (To sign up, UGA students should go to www.oovoo.com/dcn.)
Miele, who visited Team 14h30 in the fall, says he can’t imagine the impact such a program would have had on launching his early business career.
“At the end of the day, what are you going to college for?” says Miele, who has an MBA from NYU. “I think that’s pretty vital to the college experience. I really wish I’d had an experience like that.”
Miele also praised the way the program grooms participants to speak up and ask intelligent questions, and the opportunity that 14h30 students have to receive feedback from business professionals about their successes and mistakes.
Case in point: An ooVoo promotion that Marshall and Herrera arranged to coincide with a separate UGA HEROs campaign—sign up five friends and qualify for a chance at a $150 donation to your cause. “It didn’t go so well,” says Hererra. “The word didn’t really get out.”
Lesson learned: sending out a promotional email to college students right before Thanksgiving break may suffer from timing issues.
On the flip side, here’s the news that greeted Team 14h30 students on a recent Friday afternoon.
”We have already placed 16 students in real jobs,“ says Driscoll.