X-LAB, a pioneering economic development program at Xavier University’s Williams College of Business, is still accepting applications from motivated people with good ideas.
Betsy Goldfarb used the X-LAB competition to build Queen City Transitions, which helps seniors and their families navigate challenges of downsizing, aging-in-place or liquidating an estate with compassion and customer service, bringing order to chaos. “I wasn’t able to find my direction because I was too busy working IN my business,” she says. “Due to what I learned that year, I developed a plan and began to execute it in ways I didn’t think possible. My business has grown almost 200 percent. I am proud of it and proud that X-LAB saw its potential and gave me a shot.”
Michael Kou, president of Growth by Export, says, “XLAB believed in my concept and helped me foster it. With their help I developed a business plan, trademarked a logo, incorporated my company, built a website, built up my confidence and launched my business. Within a year I was running my own company and shortly after, left my full time job to manage GBE full time.”
“After a rigorous interview process, I wasn't sure what to expect from the X-LAB experience,” says Brad Rogers of Urban Harvest. “I had all of the energy and drive of a small business owner, but none of the book knowledge or savvy necessary to launch a successful business. X-LAB’s talented instructors and eager MBA students shaped my energy and drive into a practical business plan and presentation. The education and experience X-LAB gave me was invaluable.”
Applications are being accepted online now through Sept. 7 at www.xavier.edu/xlab where those with great ideas also will complete an in-depth questionnaire. Judges are evaluating the viability of the idea, the potential of the entrepreneur and whether the capabilities of X-LAB and the business idea are a good match. The business or nonprofit needs to be able to grow or make a significant impact regionally or nationally. After assessment, 20-25 applicants will be invited to participate for free in workshops led by Xavier faculty and local executives Sept. 29 – Feb. 23.
When the workshops are almost complete, five winners will be chosen based on their participation, engagement, and progress during the sessions. Those five winners get access to MBA students’ consulting services, access to any speakers on campus and a meeting with potential investors. Winners discover what it takes to take their idea from concept to reality.
X-LAB’s primary benefit is the sharing of business expertise and best practices. X-LAB recognizes that entrepreneurs need more than money to succeed. It draws on the College’s 65 faculty members, 500 affiliated executives and nearly 900 MBA students to work with the winners and then connects them to investors when their idea is honed.
“X-LAB is important,” says Brian Till, PhD, dean of Xavier’s Williams College of Business, “because it provides tangible support for high potential businesses and is a visible indicator of Xavier’s commitment to the community. We are proud to see it gain traction, visibility and support.”
More information about X-LAB is available at www.xavier.edu/xlab.