X-LAB, a pioneering economic development program at Xavier University’s Williams College of Business, once again seeks motivated people with good ideas. In this, the program’s third year, things are a little different.
The past two years, X-LAB solicited applications and picked winners using a rigorous evaluation process that included an application, in-depth questionnaires and interviews. Faculty, MBA students and business executives selected the winners.
This year, entrepreneurs will apply online and complete the questionnaire at the same time. The applications are judged on three primary factors: 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 also 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 from Sept. 29 – Feb. 23.
Applications will be accepted beginning Aug. 20 and ending Sept. 7 at www.xavier.edu/xlab
When the workshops are almost complete, five winners will be chosen based on their participation, engagement, and progress during the sessions.
The five winners will get access to MBA students’ consulting services, access to any speakers on campus and a meeting with potential investors. Overall, the winners will discover what it takes to turn their business idea from concept and turn it into reality.
X-LAB differs from other entrepreneur competitions because its primary benefit is the sharing of business expertise. Many competitions offer cash prizes but little else. X-LAB recognizes many entrepreneurs need more than just money to succeed. It draws on the College’s 65 faculty members, 500 executives affiliated with the College and nearly 900 MBA students to advise the winners and then connects them to investors when their idea is honed.
In addition to benefitting entrepreneurs, X-LAB has benefited Xavier’s students. The College created an MBA course in which students act as consultants to the X-LAB businesses. It provides them experience with a real company facing real issues. Undergraduates across colleges and majors at Xavier have also gotten involved by helping businesses in Norwood and Evanston.
Brian Till, PhD, dean of the Williams College of Business, acknowledges the success of X-LAB.
“X-LAB is important,” he says, “both because it provides tangible support for high potential businesses and is a visible indicator of Xavier’s commitment to the local community. We are proud to see this program gain traction, visibility and support.”
More information about X-LAB is available at www.xavier.edu/xlab.